Considerations for using data responsibly at USAID

As digitized data becomes more widely available there is a need to balance tensions between: using data to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of programs and activities; individual’s privacy and security; and transparency and accountability. The aim of this resource is to provide a framework for identifying and understanding risks associated with the collection and use of data.

This resource and the following information was contributed by Kaye Stevens.

Authors and their affiliation

Development Informatics team at the U.S. Global Development Lab

Year of publication


Type of resource

  • Discussion paper

  • Example
  • Guide

Key features

The aim of this document is to promote thoughtful conversations rather than prescriptive guidelines. Each section provides resources, tools and tips to help guide discussions and navigate tensions involved in responsible data practice.




How to Use This Document

Responsible Data Overview

What Does It Mean to Use Data Responsibly?

Our Responsibilities

To Data Subjects

To Ourselves

To the Broader Development Community

Responsible Data Considerations

Data Policy and Planning

Legal and Policy Issues

Planning for Data Use

Data Collection and Protection

Informed Consent

Sensitive Information

IT Security

Putting Data to Work

Data Quality

Data Retention

Data Sharing



Who is this resource useful for?

  • Evaluators

How have you used or intend on using this resource?

This is a useful resource for planning how to responsibly collect or utilise existing data

Why would you recommend it to other people?

As stated in the document “…digital tools can introduce the potential for harm if used without appropriate attention to critical issues like privacy, security, or the many unique ways people interact with digital technologies across cultural, social, and gender lines. … we must acknowledge that some of the greatest risks may come from the false sense that issues of privacy and security exist solely in the realms of checklists and compliance.”

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