Submitting Comments on Data Sharing for Social Science Research

Today, we submitted comments to the European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO) in response to its November 24th call for comments regarding Access to Data Held by Digital Platforms for the Purposes of Social Scientific Research. EDMO plans to form a working group in 2021 to develop a Code of Conduct under Article 40 of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to facilitate responsible data sharing, including data on digital platforms, for social science research purposes. You can read our comments here.

With our comments, we hope to provide insight into some of the challenges we’ve encountered and potential solutions for sharing data for the purpose of social science research in a way that protects people’s privacy. We believe in the power of data to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges and we want to enable the important work of independent social scientists while continuing to protect people’s privacy. We are particularly interested in EDMO’s proposed process because some obligations under the GDPR have made it more difficult to share data for social science research, even where checks and balances have been implemented to protect privacy. We hope an Article 40 Code of Conduct will provide clearer guidance for this kind of data sharing, making data more readily available to social scientists while protecting people’s privacy.

We thank EDMO for the opportunity to share comments and hope our submission will provide a useful view into the challenges companies like Facebook have faced in making data available for research purposes. 

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