It’s the (Democracy-Poisoning) Golden Age of Free Speech

Zeynep Tufekci in Wired: “…In today’s networked environment, when anyone can broadcast live or post their thoughts to a social network, it would seem that censorship ought to be impossible. This should be the golden age of free speech. And sure, it is a golden age of free speech—if you can believe your lying eyes…. The most effective […]

The World’s Biggest Biometric Database Keeps Leaking People’s Data

Rohith Jyothish at FastCompany: “India’s national scheme holds the personal data of more than 1.13 billion citizens and residents of India within a unique ID system branded as Aadhaar, which means “foundation” in Hindi. But as more and more evidence reveals that the government is not keeping this information private, the actual foundation of the system appears shaky at best. On January […]

Satellites Predict a Cholera Outbreak Weeks in Advance

Sarah Derouin at Scientific American: “Orbiting satellites can warn us of bad weather and help us navigate to that new taco joint. Scientists are also using data satellites to solve a worldwide problem: predicting cholera outbreaks. Cholera infects millions of people each year, leading to thousands of deaths. Often communities do not realize an epidemic is underway […]

On democracy

Sophie in ‘t Veld (European Parliament) in a Special Issue of Internet Policy Review on Political micro-targeting edited by Balazs Bodo, Natali Helberger and Claes de Vreese: “Democracy is valuable and vulnerable, which is reason enough to remain alert for new developments that can undermine her. In recent months, we have seen enough examples of the growing impact of […]

Technology as a Driver for Governance by the People for the People

Chapter by Ruth Kattumuri in the book Governance and Governed: “The changing dynamics of leadership and growing involvement of people in the process of governance can be attributed to an enhanced access to technology, which enables the governed to engage directly and instantly. This is expected to lead to a greater sense of accountability on the […]

Reimagining Democracy: What if votes were a currency? A crypto-currency?

Opinion piece by Praphul Chandra: “… The first key tenet of this article is that the institution of representative democracy is a severely limited realization of democratic principles. These limitations span three dimensions: First, citizen representation is extremely limited. The number of individuals whose preference an elected representative is supposed to represent is so large as to be […]

Big Data and medicine: a big deal?

V. Mayer-Schönberger and E. Ingelsson in the Journal of Internal Medicine: “Big Data promises huge benefits for medical research. Looking beyond superficial increases in the amount of data collected, we identify three key areas where Big Data differs from conventional analyses of data samples: (i) data are captured more comprehensively relative to the phenomenon under study; this […]

Appropriating technology for accountability

Research report by Rosie McGee with Duncan Edwards, Colin Anderson, Hannah Hudson and Francesca Feruglio: “Making All Voices Count was a programme designed to solve the ‘grand challenge’ of creating more effective democratic governance and accountability around the world. Conceived in an era of optimism about the use of tech to open up government and […]

Artificial intelligence and smart cities

Essay by Michael Batty at Urban Analytics and City Sciences: “…The notion of the smart city of course conjures up these images of such an automated future. Much of our thinking about this future, certainly in the more popular press, is about everything ranging from the latest App on our smart phones to driverless cars […]