UN Global Pulse has developed a two-phase “Risk, Harms and Benefits Assessment Tool,” a data privacy, ethics and data protection compliance mechanism designed to help identify and minimize the risks of harms and maximize the positive impacts of data innovation projects.
The assessment can be used at the onset of a data innovation project, or when an existing project needs to undergo changes, taking into account every stage of the data life cycle and, where possible, should include a diverse team of experts as well as representatives of the groups of individuals who could be potentially affected by the data use.
Step 1: “Risks, Harms and Benefits Assessment, Level 1 (Checklist)”. This phase is an initial assessment of potential risks for data use that should help identify whether a more comprehensive Risks, Harms and Benefits Assessment should be conducted.
Step 2: “Risks, Harms and Benefits Assessment, Level 2.” This phase should be completed each time the initial assessment (Level 1) identified high risks of harms associated with the project.
The assessment is designed primarily as a general example for internal self-regulation. As this assessment offers only minimum guidance, users are encouraged to expand the list depending on the project’s needs, risks, or specific context, or in response to the evolving data landscape.
In 2020, Global Pulse will release a user-friendly online application of the Risk Assessment Tool.
Level 1 – Checklist
The Risks, Harms and Benefits Assessment, Level 1 ( the “Level 1 Assessment” or the “Checklist”) is designed to understand the context, nature and scope of a data innovation project. It contains guiding comments for each checkpoint, and its questions are grounded in the key international data privacy and data protection principles and concepts (including the Principles on Personal Data Protection and Privacy adopted by the UN HLCM in 2018).
It stresses the importance of considering the likelihood of various risks as well as the likelihood, magnitude and severity of potential harms that could result from the identified risks.
It is built on the principles of proportionate data use – where negative impacts of data use should not outweigh the positive impacts, and calls for considering impacts of data use as well as data non-use, taking into account the context of data use.
©2016, UN Global Pulse. This work is licensed under a CC BY 3.0 IGO license.
The Risks, Harms and Benefits Assessment, Level 2 (the “Level 2 Assessment”) is designed to measure in detail the likelihood, magnitude and significance of the positive impacts of a data innovation project against the likelihood of the risks and the likelihood, magnitude and severity of potential harms.
This Level 2 Assessment provides a framework for balancing the risks and potential harms to individuals and groups of individuals caused not only by data misuse, but also its non-use.
©2020, UN Global Pulse. This work is licensed under a CC BY 3.0 IGO license.
How to cite: UN Global Pulse, “Risks, Harms and Benefits Assessment, Level 2”, 2020.
UN Global Pulse wishes to thank various experts from the public, private and academia sector, that contributed to the development of the tool, including the members of the Expert Group on the Governance of Data and AI of UN Global Pulse (former Privacy Advisory Group) and Mr Richard Cohen.
For more information or to provide comments on the Risks, Harms and Benefits Assessment Tool, please contact email@example.com.
This is a living document and will change over time in response to the evolving data landscape.
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