Due to the increasing diversity of our societies, it is crucial to revise existing structures and to establish new standards for public services and e-government. The integration of equality and diversity principles can support the inclusiveness of such services. Therefore, when developing e-services of the future, it is not enough to take novel approaches such as “privacy by design” into account. In order to reflect societal realities, “inclusivity by design” – as it is outlined in the dedicated Inclusivity Handbook by MIICT – needs to become the standard of future e-government services.
Both equality and diversity are crucial for research on and with migrants. At the same time, these concepts are also contested especially in the policy context, where for example the entitlement for political participation or the access to particular services is related to citizenship or a particular status of residence. With the continuous rise of multiculturalism and globalisation, however, equality and diversity are crucial for the future of democracy in Europe and its member states.
In order to ensure that the information and services platform IMMERSE, which will be developed in the MIICT project and aims for supporting migrant integration, follows the “inclusivity by design” principle, the project developed a dedicated Inclusivity Handbook. The handbook, which is available on the project website, addresses the question of how to guarantee equality and diversity in public services. Building on a discussion of the phenomenon of discrimination as well as gender equality in relation to public services, the handbook elaborates on the concept of inclusion of migrants and refugees.
A particular focus is put on the issue of how to guarantee the inclusion of migrants and refugees in public sector services. The handbook emphasizes that a number of measures can be taken to improve the inclusion of migrants and refugees in the public services. These include, for example, the improvement of coordination measures for integration policies across government levels, the need for coherence when addressing the needs of migrants, the effective use of financial resources to support integration, the cooperation between public authorities and civil society organisations as well as the matching of skills with job opportunities. Furthermore, the measures also highlight the need for simplifying the access to benefits and services in general – and training as well as education in particular.
Inclusion and data protection
The IMMERSE platform will be the main outcome of the MIICT project. Hence, while designing the online tool a particular focus will not only be put on “inclusivity by design”, but also on “privacy by design”. For addressing related issues, the handbook emphasizes the relevance of data protection in the context of inclusion. The inclusion of migrants and refugees refers to their social, economic and political integration in a country. Protection of the personal data of migrants and refugees is especially important in the context of their inclusion, because for example migrant workers often encounter abuses of their labour rights and other forms of mistreatment. Different players are involved such as recruitment agencies, which contract migrants to poor and unsafe working environments. Furthermore, they are sometimes involved in other criminal practices such as forced labour or human trafficking. Personal data could be used to harm these people or their families and hence they might become a means of pressure.
For the MIICT project, the partners therefore agreed on several basic principles for developing the IMMERSE platform that are emphasized in the handbook (p. 59):
- No matter whose data is collected, it should be properly analysed and used to inform programming, and must be handled according to standards and practices for management of personal and sensitive data.
- A date controller or processor must identify the legal basis by which the processing of personal data is permitted.
- Appropriate care should be taken to not raise expectations, and ensure a clear accountability towards the respondents.
- Any risks linked to identifying persons as having a disability must be considered prior to designing the data model and the processes that aim at skills and opportunities matchmaking.
The MIICT consortium emphasizes that a strong data protection framework can help to empower individuals and limit data exploitation. The IMMERSE platform, including the related data models, will therefore be conceptualized and programmed along the principles “inclusivity by design” and “privacy by design”, where the individuals do have the rights over their data. While processing the personal data of migrants involved in public services, the data controllers will therefore aim for the consent of the users before using information or data. The improvement of data protection is a seminal issue that supports the inclusion of migrants through a different way of thinking.
Inclusivity, Ethics, Handbook, GDPR, vulnerable groups