Digital equity through data sovereignty: a vision for sustaining humanity

Gregory Rolan, Susan McKemmish, Gillian Oliver, Joanne Evans, Shannon Faulkhead

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review


We envisage a world of global digital equity, achieved through research in, and application of, rights-based design principles and innovative technologies. In that world, stakeholders in information are no longer viewed only as users, clients, or targeted demographic markets, but as active participants in their data. We seek a future where data is neither weaponised nor exploited, but considered as sovereign to individuals, families and communities. This vision has major implications for research in informatics, data-sciences, cybersecurity, information cultures, information literacy, and a host of domain-specific disciplines such as indigenous studies, ethics, law, the arts, and so on. In this paper, we outline the rationale for this vision and some of the research topics with which we need to engage in order to progress toward this better world. In addition to the human benefit of actualising human rights, are potential economic gains. Many tens of billions of dollars are spent globally in dealing with the effects of social alienation. Though difficult to quantify, this may be reduced through data sovereignty that returns dignity and self-determination to those facing vulnerability. Through research that in-forms innovative information frameworks and example implementations, we can move towards facilitating marginalised and displaced communities locally and internationally to meet their lifelong, rights-based information, identity, memory, cultural heritage, evidence, and accountability needs. This, in turn can support initiatives to address historical and social justice, redress for human rights abuse, asylum, cultural safety, and security.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationiConference 2020 Vision Papers
EditorsJan Nolin, Kjell Ivar Skjerdingstad
Place of PublicationGradville MI USA
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2020
EventiConference 2020 - Boras, Sweden
Duration: 23 Mar 202026 Mar 2020
Conference number: 15th (Website) (Proceedings)


ConferenceiConference 2020
Abbreviated titleiConference 2020
Internet address


  • rights
  • data sovereignty
  • equity
  • data
  • records

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