Mitch recently joined the TechChange team as our GDPR Research Fellow! Mitch just graduated from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada with a Masters in Public Policy, where he focused on digital development, data privacy, and technology policy.
We recently sat down with Mitch to learn more about his background and experience. Welcome to the team!
Q: Could you share a bit about your background before joining the TechChange team?
I started working in digital development at Cisco Systems, where I worked on improving telecommunications policy and connectivity in emerging markets. More recently, I completed a Fellowship with the UN Foundation’s Digital Impact Alliance, or DIAL, where I worked on the Principles for Digital Development.
Q: What originally interested you to join TechChange?
Training and evaluation is so important in this sector and I saw how TechChange is filling a unique gap that a lot of organizations face in learning from success and failure in digital development programs. Being involved in digital training for practitioners in this space is really interesting to me—especially when it comes to understanding how organizations are using data in increasingly different ways to solve challenges.
Q: What exactly are you going to be working on at TechChange over the next few months?
So, the General Data Protection Regulation (a bit long to write, so we can just say GDPR), is a regulation that came into effect on May 25 that really changes the way that technology-oriented organizations are dealing with personal and consumer data.
Last month, TechChange facilitated a course on how the GDPR is affecting—and going to affect—donors and implementers in the international development sector. I will be working to better understand the implications behind this new regulation so that TechChange and its partners can offer timely, accurate, and constructive information as everyone tries to understand how the GDPR will affect them and how their relationship with personal data will shift.
Q: What interests you the most about this kind of work?
I’m really interested in understanding how NGOs working in the field are using data in different ways in their programs and in being a part of that training first-hand through TechChange’s learning platform. As more organizations continue to use technology and leverage mobile connectivity, questions around data privacy will continue to be asked. Going forward, finding out how to anticipate and answer those questions for development practitioners is crucial.
Q: Anything you look forward to working on or learning at TechChange in the next few months?
Outside of data privacy research, I am really looking forward to brushing up on my design skills and learning more about how TechChange’s instructional platform works as an online learning tool.
It’s really neat to see how TechChange has developed and used its online learning platform to inform and train both individuals and organizations on so many different aspects of international development. So, it will be exciting to see the platform in action over the next few months!
Q: Lastly, what’s something that not a lot of people know about you?
I competed in the provincial bobsled championships in Whistler, British Columbia, this spring. We went pretty fast down the ice—142 kilometers an hour—but it wasn’t fast enough…We came in second place!