Ethical PeaceTech at Build Peace

We’re stoked to be heading back to Build Peace on Friday. We’ve been hard at work since we first introduced JustPeace Labs and our vision for inclusive peacebuilding through DIY mobile phone apps.

Besides technology, we’ve been focusing on the ethics of using technology in peacebuilding. Peacebuilders are rapidly turning to technology to augment their work. This raises wide-reaching ethical considerations and concerns regarding the protection of user privacy and security.

Faced with our own ethical challenges, we sought a guide or checklist that would help us navigate the tricky ins and outs of ethical peacetech. We did find some relevant and useful ethical guidelines and good practices (herehere and here, for example). But we didn’t find anything totally on-point—something that focused specifically on the practical needs of peacebuilders working in conflict and post-conflict situations.

So what did we decide to do? Write one ourselves. And at Build Peace this year, we’re hosting a workshop on Ethical Guidelines for PeaceTech.

Based on consultations with experts in the technology and peacebuilding fields, our Ethical Guidelines for PeaceTech will be a practical tool that can be consulted when starting an ICT project in a conflict-sensitive area. Our guidelines will also include a checklist for practitioners in the field on ethical considerations as well as a list of resources they can turn to on ethics and security.

At our workshop, we will work with PeaceTech practitioners to tackle questions like:

  • How do we get informed consent in a way that users can truly understand?
  • What data can we collect? What data should we collect?
  • What are rights to privacy in our jurisdiction(s) and for our user groups?
  • How can we avoid digital tracking of our users and their data?
  • Who “owns” the data we are using?
  • Are we putting our users at risk?
  • Is there anything we need to make sure our programmers do (or don’t) put into the code?

Hope to see lots of familiar faces next weekend and meet new PeaceTechies too!

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