TM: Two things come to mind based on this from the discussion: 1. The various laws Phares mentioned that directly affect the way data is handled in this country; the Data Protection Act was heavily mentioned in Panel 3 and how in large part made me think about how data is handled in this country. So are the laws addressing what actually matters to the researchers at hand or are they there to fit in with the rest of the world? KEBS representative mentioned that legislation on matters qualitative data and its infrastructure is being initiated at a step by step basis. Who decides the frequency or amount of steps or what the actual steps are is what remained unanswered. 2. Institutional laws and economics on the manner by which qualitative data is handled, the sieving effect of institutions like University libraries that limit access to a select bunch yet living under a cover of a public institution benefiting from public funds is a fallacy.
PC: Copyright as an issue came up. One major tension was around data ownership-- data localization was a key point that I picked up on. For example, if sensitive Kenyan data is stored on Amazon or Microsoft cloud services, then if the US decides to subpeona it, there’s nothing Kenya can do about it. (Probably a similar or even graver concern with Huawei and China.) At the same time, people mentioned that there are clear advantages to scale. “There’s a reason no one uses their company emails here… everyone will have a gmail or yahoo account.” Also, strict data privacy or localization of data infrastructures may be a barrier to data sharing / open data. How do we reconcile this tension? One thing I would note here is that most people’s concerns were dealing with digital trace data, not traditionally qualitative data. Beyond copyright issues, I don’t remember hearing too much concern with sharing qualitative data, perhaps because the infrastructure or ability to share/analyze such data at scale (for profit / control) isn’t quite as common.
AO: Data Protection Law that just passed was a big one and ties closely to GDPR. Phares Kariuki mentioned “GDPR biases towards big companies that have the capacity to comply. Even companies like Jumia are not GDPR compliant.” Copyright law needs to also be more clear. I mentioned that data cannot be copyrighted, only outputs; but messy grey when we talk about qual data very broadly to include what you might call “outputs”; fair use clause. (This is what I know based on US law, how does it work in KE?) Issue of data retention and disposal of data at odds with archiving and creation of data commons. People could use GDPR as justification for destroying incriminating data?? (not unlike the fires of the British colonial government documents on the eve of Independence).