Considerations for using data responsibly at USAID

The aim of this resource is to provide a framework for identifying and understanding risks associated with the collection and use of data.

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.

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

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.


  • Introduction
  • Purpose
  • 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
  • Conclusion

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.”