Assessing data protection perspectives among the residents of Rumphi and Karonga in Northern Malawi regarding the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones) for humanitarian intervention

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Abstract

Drones are used by humanitarian actors to collect data which could be classified as personally identifiable information (PII) and demographically identifiable information (DII). Though said to optimise intervention, they raise significant data protection challenges. An example is transparency: how effectively are community residents informed about the data drones collect of them and their community? How may this awareness affect their desire to consent, engage related group/community data protection rights, or to allow the data collector circumvent these rights to guarantee their faster access to aid.

This paper is based on two case studies: the Northern Malawi districts of Rhumpi and Karonga, earmarked as flood-risk areas and whose residents had witnessed humanitarian drone flights. The research uses qualitative analysis of focus group discussions with selected inhabitants on a series of data protection questions relating to drones. The results show that participants were mostly unaware of the high-resolution images drones take of them and their communities; their consent would hardly be valid because of their vulnerable situation, and they preferred extensive sharing of their data to attract external aid rather than engage any DII rights. This prompted the conclusion that guaranteeing responsible drone data collection and processing in humanitarian settings would rest entirely on the humanitarian organisation, with comparably little or no engagement by the local residents.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInnovations and Interdisciplinary Solutions for Underserved Areas
EditorsAmar Seeam, Visham Ramsurrun, Suraj Juddoo, Amreesh Phokeer
PublisherSpringer
Pages313-336
Number of pages24
Volume541
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-031-51849-2
ISBN (Print)978-3-031-51848-5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2024
Event6th EAI International Conference on Innovations and Interdisciplinary Solutions for Underserved Areas, EAI INTERSOL 2023 - Middlesex University, Flic en Flac, Mauritius
Duration: 16 Sept 202317 Sept 2023
Conference number: 6
https://interdisciplinarysolutions.eai-conferences.org/2023/

Publication series

NameLecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering
PublisherSpringer
ISSN (Print)1867-8211
ISSN (Electronic)1867-822X

Conference

Conference6th EAI International Conference on Innovations and Interdisciplinary Solutions for Underserved Areas, EAI INTERSOL 2023
Abbreviated titleEAI INTERSOL 2023
Country/TerritoryMauritius
CityFlic en Flac
Period16/09/2317/09/23
Internet address

Keywords

  • Humanitarian intervention, data protection, transparency, drones, personally identifiable information, demographically identifiable information, Malawi
  • 2024 OA procedure

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