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Discriminatory data: Why governments need to view digital privacy as an equity issue
Recent US privacy legislation has introduced robust privacy controls on the private sector but has tended to leave governments alone. Many public services require an exchange of privacy for safety and convenience, which can have a disproportionate impact on marginalised communities. This paper argues the need for governments to incorporate digital privacy into their equity strategies and shares the City of San José’s initial approach as a case study. The paper presents three elements through which digital privacy can have an impact on the equity implications of new surveillance technology: purpose, place and accuracy. It concludes that by integrating surveillance technology with privacy and prioritisation of racial equity, governments can create lasting technical systems that provide better, faster, and potentially more affordable services to all communities.
The full article is available to subscribers to the journal.
Albert Gehami serves as the City of San José’s Digital Privacy Officer, overseeing the privacy component of new technology and city data initiatives. He leads public engagement on digital privacy, makes determinations on privacy assessments and improves the transparency, accuracy, security and equity of the city’s data usage. Previously, Albert served as the city’s first internal data scientist, informing resource allocation for youth programmes, evaluating emergency vehicle response and improving city services. His past work continues to directly inform over US$20m in annual City of San José spending. Albert’s previous experience also includes private and public sector consulting at Boston Consulting Group, where he worked on data privacy, policy, regulatory decision making and digital transformation across public and private clients. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and a Master’s in public policy from Stanford University.