Towards the Ethical Publication of Country of Origin Information (COI) in the Asylum Process

10 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2018 Last revised: 12 Jul 2019

See all articles by Nikita Aggarwal

Nikita Aggarwal

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute; University of Oxford - Faculty of Law

Luciano Floridi

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute

Date Written: October 9, 2018

Abstract

This article addresses the question of how ‘Country of Origin Information’ (COI) reports — that is, research developed and used to support decision-making in the asylum process — can be published in an ethical manner. The article focuses on the risk that published COI reports could be misused and thereby harm the subjects of the reports and/or those involved in their development. It supports a situational approach to assessing data ethics when publishing COI reports, whereby COI service providers must weigh up the benefits and harms of publication based, inter alia, on the foreseeability and probability of harm due to potential misuse of the research, the public good nature of the research, and the need to balance the rights and duties of the various actors in the asylum process, including asylum seekers themselves. Although this article focuses on the specific question of ‘how to publish COI reports in an ethical manner’, it also intends to promote further research on data ethics in the asylum process, particularly in relation to refugees, where more foundational issues should be considered.

Keywords: Asylum claims, Country of Origin Information (COI), Data Ethics, Dual Use Research, Refugees, Human Rights, Open Access

JEL Classification: F22, F50, F60, K33, K37, O15

Suggested Citation

Aggarwal, Nikita and Floridi, Luciano, Towards the Ethical Publication of Country of Origin Information (COI) in the Asylum Process (October 9, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3263377 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3263377

Nikita Aggarwal (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute ( email )

1 St. Giles
University of Oxford
Oxford OX1 3PG Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire OX1 3JS
United Kingdom

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law ( email )

St Cross Building
St Cross Rd
Oxford, OX1 3UL
United Kingdom

Luciano Floridi

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute ( email )

1 St. Giles
University of Oxford
Oxford OX1 3PG Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire OX1 3JS
United Kingdom

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