Humanitarian Networks and Partnerships Weeks
HNPW 2024 (29 April - 10 May 2024)

Session title: Data responsibility: Rethinking ‘Do no harm’ with a digital lens
Organizer(s): CartONG and CyberPeace Institute
7 May 24 11:00-12:30   (Pleniere E)

In an increasingly interconnected and volatile world, the responsible handling of data has become paramount. This is particularly the case for humanitarian actors, that work with very vulnerable populations, and are often inadequately equipped on the topic, be it in general understanding, policies, tools and infrastructure or human resources. Not surprisingly, many scandals with wrongful sharing or handling of personal data have emerged throughout the past decade. Moreover, a recent study conducted by the CyberPeace Institute, showed that more than 60% of NGOs have been the victim of a data breach in the past three years. The CyberPeace Institute and CartONG, together with the International Social Service (ISS) and Access Now, are pleased to present a session dedicated to exploring the intricacies of data responsibility, cybersecurity, and the ‘do no harm’ approach.

Building on the DRWG (Data Responsibility Working Group) previous week session on "Data Responsibility in Practice: Examples of Impact in Humanitarian Operations", this session will feature a diverse range of experiences, examining contrasting approaches to data responsibility in different geographical contexts, such as existing data protection regulations, problematic data-related practices, cybersecurity requirements and their enforcement, shedding light on gaps and successes in safeguarding data privacy and security.

To achieve this, Sabina Titarenko (Director of Network Development and Partnerships, ISS) will provide insight into the challenges faced by their organization, operating across various jurisdictions, in developing their own responsible data protection policy. Maeve de France (Head of Programmes, CartONG) will delve into the concept of data responsibility throughout the data lifecycle, looking into how to apply such a principle practically from data collection to disposal. Giulio Coppi (Access Now) will share insights on the evolving role of tech actors and its implications for the sector. Fabien Leimgruber (Senior Program Manager, CyberPeace Institute) will emphasize the critical role of robust cybersecurity measures in safeguarding the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of humanitarian data. Through practical examples, he will demonstrate why organizations must prioritize cybersecurity to uphold their data responsibility commitments. The session will be facilitated by Alexandru Lazar, also of the CyberPeace Institute.

The conversation will then continue through a collaborative discussion through which Maeve, Sabina, Giulio, and Fabien will address the question of how organisations can connect and harness these various approaches in their organisations, transcending geographical differences in regulations and practices and bring in the audience for the sharing of further experiences and challenges.

Join us for an engaging session that will help you understand the complexities of data responsibility and cybersecurity, while inspiring actionable strategies geared towards ethical data and cybersecurity practices and access to assistance for humanitarian actors!


Alexandru Lazar (facilitator)- Program officer, CyberPeace Institute

Maeve de France- Head of Programs, CartONG

Giulio Coppi- Senior Humanitarian officer, Access Now

Fabien Leimgruber - Senior Program Manager, CyberPeace Institute

Sabina Titarenko, Director Network Development and Partnerships, International Social Service (ISS)

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