News & Notes 632:Regarding the Data Management Group

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632 icon.jpg   News & Notes 632
16 January 2016

Regarding the Data Management Group

Dear Community members,

Some residents have raised concerns about the existence and functioning of the Data Management Group. We would like to clarify its "raison d'être".

Before the Data Management Group came into existence, the Residents Service was in charge of allowing access to the data of the Aurovilians. As the Service felt uncomfortable taking decisions all by itself, at some point in time it asked for the support of the Working Committee in answering to these requests.

As we mentioned in our monthly report of March 2015, published in the News and Notes #594 of April 11th, 2015, we have set-up a Data Management Group to deal with requests for access to our collective data. Our concern is that a balance is found between protecting our data and allowing their access in the best interests, individually and collectively.

The Data Management Group is still working on a proper process for giving access to community data. It is not withholding data (as it has been wrongly stated). Its concern is that access should only be provided when required by officials, or when the purpose is clearly in the general interest and the data cannot be obtained through other channels.

Data required by the Auroville Foundation office or the RRO, for example, will be submitted without question as this is in accordance with the laws of India. Data required by a foreign embassy or consulate will only be provided when each of the foreign residents concerned informs that s/he has no objection. Requests for a list of all names and email addresses of all foreigners of a specific country, required, for example, to communicate to them the visit of a person from that country, will normally only be given to the person who regularly maintains contacts with the embassy or consulate of that country. Access to data for research purposes will only be given if such research is supported by a recognised Auroville unit or working group. Data will not be shared for advertisement purposes or when the information can be communicated through other channels (e.g. the News & Notes).

As the Data Management Group is still 'new' on the job, and is very cautious to protect data from falling in the 'wrong' hands, irritations have arisen. We are trying to work them out and arrive at an easier and less 'bureaucratic' process.

We thank you for your patience and understanding.

The Working Committee