Envisioning a New Future: Building Trust for Data Use

Research Report

Envisioning a New Future: Building Trust for Data Use

November 23, 2021

Abstract

Data are a powerful tool for people to use to improve lives, strengthen families, and build communities of opportunity. But a lack of engagement with community members and people represented in state and local data systems has resulted in a lack of trust and rightful opposition to data efforts that are not transparent and inclusive. With a focus on building trust with communities for data use, the public and social sectors can apply data to make programs and policies more ethical, effective, and sustainable. Philanthropy has a critical role to help these sectors prioritize trust building as they use and integrate data. This paper surfaces individual and collective rights and harms that people need to consider in developing approaches to data use. It also outlines four broad ways to build trust: enact and refine laws and regulations related to data; apply technical solutions to expand and control data access; increase community data capacity; and establish and enhance governance for data and data systems. With this framework in mind and a focus on centering racial equity, funders can review how their actions and investments contribute to building public trust for using data for good.

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