Governments that can successfully harness the world’s ongoing digital transformation and the data it produces can make better informed policy decisions and target their resources more effectively. To achieve this goal, they must establish clear rules about how data can be used across its lifecycle. Until recently, the development community has paid more attention to supporting government use of digital tools and data than on how governments can manage data responsibly. This is now changing in line with a broader shift in societal views about the risks of data misuse. To better understand how governments can use data to support economic development and inclusive growth while protecting citizens and communities against harm, we interviewed over 40 data policy experts from government, civil society, the private sector, development organizations, and the data privacy community over summer 2020. This paper synthesizes the views we heard into key themes and explores some of the questions and challenges that a policy and research agenda aimed at supporting effective government data use should consider.
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