In this paper, the authors argue that there is substantial scope for data governance policies for the Global South to draw from theories and practices informed by the idea that data can be a subject of decentralized, community-centric governance. First, the paper highlights the importance of recognizing communities and groups as agents with interests and rights in various forms of data, and how this challenges many of the assumptions upon which contemporary data policy and globalized information systems are built. Second, it explores how the idea of community data governance is informed by notions of knowledge commons, and the importance of the theoretical framework of commons governance to information and knowledge economies. Third, the paper identifies three distinct theories and practices of community data governance, which have responded to concerns about power, information, and knowledge in the post-colonial context, and identify how these theories and practices can inform data governance policy in the Global South.
This paper is part of IT for Change's 'Unskewing the Data Value Chain' project.