Digital Democracy and Data Commons (DDDC)
#dddc Debating and testing data infrastructures, policies and economics for the commons
Digital Democracy and Data Commons is a pilot participatory process oriented to test a new technology to improve the digital democracy platform Decidim and to collectively imagine the data politics of the future. This pilot takes place in the context of the European project DECODE (Decentralized Citizen Owned Data Ecosystem) that aims to construct legal, technological, and socioeconomic tools that allow citizens to take back control over their data and generate more common benefits out of them. The pilot is led by the Barcelona Municipal Institute of Information Technology (IMI), in collaboration with the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute of the Open University of Catalonia (IN3/UOC), Eurecat and Thoughtworks.
What is the DDDC pilot?
Digital Democracy and Data Commons is a participatory process for imagining more democratic and privacy-enhancing forms of data governance, that contribute to the citizen’s control over their personal data in the digital society and economy, both on the individual and the collective planes. The process has three key objectives: deliberating upon data law, governance and economics; testing a new DECODE-Decidim system that affords to sign e-petitions in a safe, private, transparent and data-enriched manner; and, finally, to construct an experimental data commons, defined by the ideas and practices coming from the participatory process itself.
Why is it important?
To reveal some data about our lives to some application may not look so serious; the problem rises when those chunks of data are aggregated in our devices, services and accounts to be analyzed, shared and sold. All that information constitute digital patterns that reveal behaviors, interests and habits of the digital society. Many actors, specially big corporations and States, use that information to surveil and influence our lives, through strategies that go from continuous advertisement to intervention in elections (such as in the Cambridge Analytica case) up to generating citizen rankings (such as in the Chinese case).
Nowadays there still is little awareness, deliberation and participation of citizens in the definition of the data politics that shape this new digital economy. This pilot initiative tries to stir critical consciousness and common construction in this arena. Furthermore, it aims to provide with the tools to build in that direction.
What is DECODE and what does it bring to the process?
Who controls your data on the internet? Do you know what happens with all your information in the digital world? Today's digital economy is marked by the surveillance and influence of large digital companies and states over the lives of millions of people. DECODE (Decentralized Citizen Owned Data Ecosystems) is a European project that seeks to develop technological, as well as legal and socio-economic tools, to give citizens greater control over their data and thus contribute to the transformation of the current digital economy and politics. To know more about DECODE or over the tools being developed, check the project documents below (which attend to the different planes of the project, legal, socioeconomic, and technical), the FAQs or the official website.
What are the goals of the DDDC pilot?
The pilot will have several complementary goals:
- The first is to integrate DECODE technology with the Decidim digital platform for participatory democracy, with the goal of improving it for processes of e-petitioning, providing more safety, privacy, transparency and data enrichment.
- The second objective is to enable a deliberative space around data law, governance and economics, in the context the the new digital economy and public policy. The goal is to provide a vision oriented to promote a greater citizen control over data and their exploitation in procommons models (that is, models where people share data and allow for open use while remaining in control over their data, individually and collectively).
- The third objective is to experiment with the construction and use of a data commons generated in the process, for improving the inclusion of the participatory process itself.
What is the structure of the process?
This participatory pilot will have a total duration of five months and will be developed in several phases, which will run between October 18th 2018 and April 1st 2019. Throughout the process, different face-to-face meetings will be held, connected with the activity developed in the dddc.decodeproject.eu platform.
- Presentation & diagnosis: the first phase of the process will be dedicated to the elaboration of a brief diagnosis of the state of regulations, governance models and data economy, supported on the analyses previously developed in the context of the DECODE project. This phase will also include the launch of a sociodemographic survey which will also include various questions of perceptions on the digital economy. The data from this survey will allow, in later stages of the process, to design communicative actions aimed at improving the inclusiveness of the process.
- Proposals: during the second phase of the process, proposals will be collected to address the issues mapped during the diagnosis phase, including proposals derived from the previous work in DECODE. Likewise, a session of analysis of the survey sociodemographic data will be carried out, linked to the design of communicative actions to improve inclusion in the process. The Barcelona Now (BCNNOW) dashboard developed by the Eurecat team will be used for the analysis.
- Debate: in the third phase, proposals from the previous phase will be discussed.
- Elaboration: subsequently, there will be a process of elaboration of the proposals, and the discussions, by the DECODE team and interested participants.
- Signing: then comes a central moment in the pilot: the collection of support for the pilot results using DECODE technology for secure and transparent signature (based on encryption techniques and distributed ledger technologies). This technology, integrated with DECIDIM, represents a step forward in the construction of a more secure, transparent and distributed networked democracy.
- Evaluation: the process will end with a closing meeting and the launch of a survey that will help to assess the satisfaction of participants with the process and with the DECODE technology.
Throughout these phases (especially in face-to-face meetings), discussions will be organised around three main axes: legal aspects, governance aspects, and economic aspects. Although they have clear connections between them, each of them provides a differential approach to discussions around data. One of the results of the process will be a participatory document, white paper or manifesto around the digital economy. A fourth axis of the pilot, the experimental axis, will be dedicated to use and take collective decisions around the database resulting from the data (in particular, the anonymized socio-demographic data) shared during the pilot, constituting a temporary commons that will serve to improve the deliberative process itself, a practice that could be incorporated in Decidim processes in the future.
- To take part in the construction and testing of legal, technological and socioeconomic tools oriented to construct a more just politics of data, that breaks with the monopolistic, surveillance models that predominate in the current data economy.
- To learn and share critical consciousness and deliberation around this new digital economy.
- To construct and experiment with data commons, that is, with alternative practices to those predominating today, defined by the ideas and decisions coming from the participatory process itself.
How to participate?
This process is open to participation of experts and practitioners in the digital economy, political representatives, and general citizenry. Participation will take place digitally, through the dddc.decodeproject.eu platform, or face to face, through the meetings and workshops that will take place during the pilot.