UN Global Pulse Principles on Data Privacy & Protection

Our principles intend to help ensure that individuals whose data is used are not adversely affected by our projects.

Our principles acknowledge standards set out in the UN Guidelines for the Regulation of Computerized Personal Data Files adopted by General Assembly resolution 45/95. They are not based on any specific national or regional laws, but draw inspiration from a number of global instruments concerning privacy and data protection. We expect the principles to be a living document and welcome input from interested parties in helping us improve them.

Our Data Privacy & Data Protection Principles


Purpose of use

We access, analyse or otherwise use data for the purposes consistent with the United Nations mandate and in furtherance of the Sustainable Development Goals

Right to use

We access, analyze or otherwise use data that has been obtained by lawful and fair means, including, where appropriate, with the knowledge or consent of the individual whose data is used

Purpose compatibility

We ensure to the extent possible, that all of the data we use for project purposes is adequate, relevant, and not excessive in relation to the legitimate and fair purposes for which the data was obtained

Individual privacy

We do not access, analyse or otherwise use the content of private communications without the knowledge or proper consent of the individual We do not knowingly or purposefully access, analyse, or otherwise use personal data, which was shared by an individual with a reasonable expectation of privacy without the knowledge or consent of the individual  We do not attempt to knowingly and purposefully re-identify de-identified data, and we make all reasonable efforts to prevent any unlawful and unjustified re-identification

Data security

We ensure reasonable and appropriate technical and organisational safeguards are in place to prevent unauthorised disclosure or breach of data

Risk and harm assessment and risk mitigation

We perform a risk assessment and implement appropriate mitigation processes before any new or substantially changed project is undertaken We take into consideration the impact that data use can have not only on individuals but also on groups of individuals  We ensure that the risks and harms are not excessive in relation to the positive impact of the project

Data sensitivity

We employ stricter standards of care while conducting research among vulnerable populations and persons at risk, children and young people, and any other sensitive data

Data minimisation

We ensure the data use is limited to the minimum necessary

Data retention

We ensure that the data used for a project is being stored only for the necessary duration and that any retention of it is justified

Data quality and accountability

We design, carry out, report and document our activities with adequate accuracy and openness

Our collaborators

We require that our collaborators are acting in compliance with relevant law, data privacy and data protection standards and the United Nations’ global mandate.

UN Global Pulse Principles on Data Privacy & Protection 1

UN Principles on Personal Data Protection and Privacy 

The Principles  set out a basic framework for the processing of personal data by, or on behalf of, the United Nations System Organizations in carrying out their mandated activities.

They aim to:

(i) harmonize standards for the protection of personal data across the UN System;

(ii) facilitate the accountable processing of personal data; and

(iii) ensure respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals, in particular the right to privacy.

UN Global Pulse Principles on Data Privacy & Protection 2

UNSDG Guidance Note on Data Privacy, Ethics and Protection. 

The note sets out general guidance on data privacy, data protection and data ethics for the United Nations Development Group (UNDG) concerning the use of big data, collected in real time by private sector entities as part of their business offerings, and shared with UNDG members for the purposes of strengthening operational implementation of their programmes to support the achievement of the 2030 Agenda.

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