Reclaiming personal data for the common good

Theo Bass at Nesta: “…The argument of our new report for DECODE is that more of the social value of personal data can be discovered by tools and platforms that give people the power to decide how their data is used. We need to flip the current model on its head, giving people back full control and respecting our data protection and fundamental rights framework.

The report describes how this might pave the way for a fairer distribution of the value generated by data, while opening up new use-cases that are valuable to government, society and individuals themselves. In order to achieve this vision, the DECODE project will develop and test the following:

Flexible rules to give people full control:  There is currently a lack of  technical and legal norms that would allow people to control and share data on their own terms. If this were possible, then people might be able to share their data for the public good, or publish it as anonymised open data under specific conditions, or for specific use-cases (say, non-commercial purposes). DECODE is working with the Making Sense project and Barcelona City Council to assist local communities with new forms of citizen sensing. The pilots will tackle the challenges of collating, storing and sharing data anonymously to influence policy on the city’s digital democracy platform Decidim (part of the D-CENT toolkit).

Trusted platforms to realise the collective value of data: Much of the opportunity will only be realised where individuals are able to pool their data together to leverage its potential economic and social value. Platform cooperatives offer a feasible model, highlighting the potential of digital technologies to help members collectively govern themselves. Effective data sharing has to be underpinned by high levels of user trust, and platform co-ops achieve this by embedding openness, respect for individual users’ privacy, and democratic participation over how decisions are made. DECODE is working with two platform co-ops – a neighbourhood social networking site called Gebied Online; and a democratic alternative to Airbnb in Amsterdam called FairBnB – to test new privacy-preserving features and granular data sharing options….(More)”