The inter-American program for data and algorithms
The political and digital landscape in Latin America has changed significantly over the past 10 years. Democracy is facing new demands and threats, and in some countries, it is severely challenged. Advances in openness, human rights and inclusion in the digital realm are being eroded or lost completely as the result of a combination of the emergence of new technologies, rising inequalities and the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. There is an urgent need to react to these trends and to strengthen efforts to leverage data for more inclusive and democratic development in the region.
In 2022, at the IX Summit of the Americas, a new tone was set for democracy in the digital age. Governments committed to support transparency, protect privacy and regulate the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to meet human rights standards. On the one hand, this validates the work of several communities of practice working on digital rights, openness, and inclusion, which have contributed to significant policy, legal, and regulatory developments. On the other hand, the implementation and use of data-intensive technologies by the public sector has not always resulted in improvements in conditions for citizens and, on the contrary, they could pose new risks of exclusion and human rights abuses. This new scenario calls for a specific research agenda around the use of data for democracy that questions the role of data and algorithms in fostering democratic and inclusive governance in Latin America. The project will address several gaps in the regional data agenda for Latin America, including a lack of coherent data governance frameworks ensure human rights, as well as challenges in terms of capacities, openness, and use of data for development. It will also help to guide the use of AI for inclusive development in the region.