Keynote speaker

The keynote for IDIA2020 titled Privacy by Design for the Next Billion was delivered by Payal Arora on Thursday 26th March 2020 at 07h30 (UTC).

Payal Arora is a digital anthropologist and author, consultant, founder, editor, and professor at Erasmus University Rotterdam. She holds the Chair in Technology, Values, and Global Media Cultures. Her expertise lies in digital media experience and user values among low-income communities worldwide and comes with more than a decade of fieldwork experience in such contexts.

She is the author of a number of books including the award-winning ‘Leisure Commons’ and most recently the “The Next Billion Users” with Harvard Press. Engadget (Top 5 in the ‘Technorati top 100’ and Times endorsed ‘best blogs on tech’) stated that her Harvard book is “the most interesting, thought provoking books on science and technology we can find.” Forbes named her the “next billion champion” and the right kind of person to reform tech. Several international media outlets have covered her work including The BBC, The Economist, Quartz, Tech Crunch, The Boston Globe, F.A.Z, The Nation and CBC. She has consulted on tech innovation for diverse organizations such as UNESCO, KPMG, GE, and HP and has given more than 170 presentations in 109 cities in 54 countries including a TEDx talk on the future of the internet.

She is the founder of Catalyst Lab, a digital activism organization and sits on several boards such as Columbia Univ. Earth Institute and World Women Global Council in New York. She has held Fellow positions at GE, ZEMKI, ITSRio, and NYU and is a Section Editor for Global Perspectives, a new University of California Press journal. She has a Masters in International Policy from Harvard University and a PhD from Columbia University.

Privacy by Design for the Next Billion

Radical cost reductions in data pricing and mobile phones in the Global South have brought the next billion users online, many from the lower socio-economic segment. Global tech companies are expanding their data empires with the next billion users fast becoming their biggest data producers and consumers. Governments and development organizations view the rise of these mobile platforms as a novel opportunity as they embark on building service applications to connect with and mobilize these long-neglected demographics. They are doing so by partnering with tech companies in what is seen as a win-win relationship. As data becomes the so called fuel that is meant to feed into the smart and AI (artificial intelligence) driven economy, there urgently needs to be a far more rigorous discussion on what constitutes as global privacy values. Also, we need to ensure that already disadvantaged populations do not become victims of data breaches, privacy violations and targets of unsolicited and misinformed content, amplifying their vulnerability.

"Privacy by Design for the Next Billion" – Great keynote presentation by Payal Arora at the #IDIA2020 conference on 26th March 2020 / 07h30 (UTC). @3Lmantra #ICT4D #Privacy Click To Tweet

The fact is that as of now, the concept of privacy continues to be viewed through a market-based and ethnocentric lens, disproportionately drawing from empirical evidence of perceptions and behaviors of Western-based, white, male, and middle-class demographics. Traditional development paradigms continue to view privacy as a luxury while they tackle what they see as the more urgent needs and wants of daily sustenance. We need to break away from these traditional constraints and radically rethink tech and development frameworks long dictating the global South. We need to channel our energies to pioneer privacy by design frameworks that optimize for civility, dignity, and pleasure, broadening the prevalent emphasis on optimizing for profit and efficiency. These pathways can pave the way for a global and ethical standard for privacy governance worldwide, particularly for the marginalized majority.