We have a Smart Idea
Our contextual focus
Data science involves new ways of using existing knowledge and information to address present-day challenges and to inform decision-making in different sectors. Data science projects are proliferating globally including on the African continent and the need for access to quality data is on the rise. Indeed, data science projects involve the mining and collection
of data, processing and annotation of collected data for various types of machine learning.
However, the data collected, compiled and processed (with)in these projects are often subject of diverse laws (personal data protection law, constitutional right to privacy;
confidentiality, copyright law, contract law, and competition law) depending on the legal
nature of data. Furthermore, the activities involved in processing and annotating of data in these data science projects also implicate various aspects of the applicable legal
Data collected, compiled and processed (with)in data science projects are often subject of
diverse laws (personal data protection law, constitutional right to privacy; confidentiality,
copyright law, contract law, and competition law). Our projects at Data Science Law Lab
focus on various aspects of the interactions between law and data science.
Focusing on Africa (at continental/regional and at individual State levels), our projects at
Data Science Law Lab focus on various aspects of the interactions between law and data
Legal taxonomy of data and datasets in Africa:
We propose to provide a taxonomy to account for legal rules that are (potentially) available to support the various kinds and sources of data used and/or needed for data science activities across Africa. The work also involves a taxonomic approach to key legal principles that could guide thinking towards more effective legal frameworks for achieving policy objects such as innovation, cultural diversity and preservation of African languages in the digital environment.
Legal approaches to data and datasets in Africa – Developing, Augmenting and Updating:
Based on the legal taxonomy supporting the data and datasets involved in data science activities as identified above, we will be working to develop resources that focus specifically on each distinct applicable legal framework (personal data protection law, constitutional right to privacy; confidentiality, copyright law, contract law, and competition law) in order to facilitate the identification of applicable legislation by data scientists across Africa. Our resources will also focus on supporting the formulation and design of practical legal tools that support data scientists across Africa especially in multi-funder dataset development and/or augmentation projects.
Legal assistance and support for individual data science projects across Africa:
Many data science projects across Africa focus on a broad range of data and datasets which in turn implicates multiple legal and regulatory regimes depending on the specific country. These projects may also involve multiple funders across various jurisdictions (including outside Africa) and which have specific institutional or organisation-based requirements for the development, augmentation, updating and reusing of datasets from these projects. Where consulted, Data Science Law Lab facilitates the identification of applicable legal and regulatory framework for the relevant dataset and highlights the rights and obligations relevant for both data scientists and project funders. We also provide expert opinions on possible contractual and licensing approaches to datasets.
Measuring judicial sentiment on copyright issues in South Africa:
We are working with some students from MIT in the Big Data program at the University of Pretoria on a project examining and quantifying the sentiments on a number of target copyright issues expressed in the language of judicial rulings in the field of copyright law in South Africa.
Africa is not a country and different legal regimes apply across the various countries in Africa. Data Science Law Lab currently focuses on two FAIR Forward partner countries in Africa – South Africa and Kenya.
Please contact us if you would like to partner with us or support our ongoing research work. We are also happy to provide advice to data scientists, dataset funders, legal practitioners or policy-makers who would like to use our resources and expertise in data science projects, legal case work or policy campaigns.
A legal taxonomy of data and datasets in Africa
Developing, augmenting and updating datasets – A legal perspective
Legal assistance and support
Provision of project-specific legal support for data science projects across Africa
Workshops, symposia, trainings from legal experts to data scientists working in Africa