Policy Approaches to Addressing Data Access Challenges in the Evolving Online Ecosystem (11 September 2023)

Research report | Submission/proposal/advocacy/recommendation

Website/link: https://www.isdglobal.org/isd-publications/policy-approaches-to-addressing-data-access-challenges-in-the-evolving-online-ecosystem/

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Published date: September 11, 2023

Author: Henry Tuck

Country: Canada | New Zealand (Aotearoa) | United Kingdom (UK) | United States of America (USA)

Region: Europe,Global

Subject tag: Algorithmic systems | Barriers to meaningful transparency | Data Access | Disinformation | Disinformation and misinformation | Extremism | Hate | Privacy and data protection | Researcher access | Terrorism and violent extremism

Extremist, hate and disinformation actors are increasingly exploiting not just major online platforms, but also a wide range of smaller and medium-sized platforms across the online ecosystem. Over the past 18 months, ISD and CASM Technology have been conducting research, funded by Omidyar Network, aimed at monitoring harmful online activity on these platforms, and analysing the technological, legal and ethical data access challenges they pose to researchers. Despite recent or upcoming regulatory changes in key jurisdictions, and the high levels of risk smaller and medium-sized platforms can present, many of these barriers to conducting research are yet to be fully or even partially addressed. This policy brief summarises the key findings from the project and feedback received during engagements with other researchers, policymakers, regulators and the private sector. It then provides an overview of existing or proposed legislation in key jurisdictions, including the EU, US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, assessing the extent to which they would impact access to data for researchers from smaller or medium-sized platforms. It concludes with a series of recommendations for the private sector, policymakers and the research community to address the data access challenges identified, and help ensure the quality, comparability and replicability of online research.