As ‘data’ grows to be more clearly recognized as the driving force of the economic transformations of today, and the structuring principle of the economic landscape of the future, discussions around the need for an adequate governance regime are starting to pick up steam. From breaking up Big Tech monopolies, to passing legislation that ensures data privacy and security rights to individuals, and incipient, decentralized experiments towards data stewardship, various efforts are underway that attempt to mitigate the skewed power relations in the data economy. Yet, the core problem of who exercises control over the immense socio-economic value of data remains. Indeed, 70% of the new value created in the global economy over the next decade is likely to be generated from data capital-intensive platform businesses. The platform model as we know it has only spawned an exponential increase in inter-firm and capital-labor inequality. It is built on the grand premise that data is no one’s property, a free resource that is available to all. Such a stance only bolsters the ability of tech behemoths to consolidate their first-mover advantage and capture huge sums of value within their data enclosures.
Given this state of affairs, adequate rules for the governance of data ecosystems are crucial to re-appropriate the public and social value of data for economic development and societal wellbeing, and a pre-condition for political sovereignty, socio-cultural independence and diversity. Hoping to foster a dialogue that takes the full measure of the problem, and to formulate bold responses, IT for Change and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, India office, hosted a virtual roundtable with a small group of scholars, scholar-activists and practitioners on May 11 and 12, 2021. Titled ‘Socializing Data Value: How Can Data Governance Meet the Challenge?’, the roundtable explored the contestations characterizing the current economy and its data (dis)order, existing and emerging governance responses, policy visions and alternative practices that seek to socialize data value.
The following report, Socializing Data Value: Reflections on the State of Play, collates the highlights of the roundtable, to provide a snapshot of the event, and the key questions, ideas and debates that were engaged with therein.
Aaron Martin is a postdoctoral researcher on the Global Data Justice project at Tilburg Law School. His research interests include cyber policy, critical infrastructure protection, surveillance, biometrics, technology regulation, cybersecurity in the financial services sector, and data in development and humanitarian contexts. He is particularly interested in exploring these topics across the Global South.
Aditya Singh Chawla
Aditya Singh Chawla is a researcher and lawyer with an interest in data governance, decentralized architectures, and ethics. He is currently a PhD Researcher at the Centre for Technomoral Futures, University of Edinburgh. His research focuses on investigating models for collective and democratic data governance from a critical data studies lens. He also advises organizations on questions of data governance and ethical design. He holds an Advanced LL.M in Law and Digital Technologies from Leiden University, and a B.A. LL.B (Hons.) from the National Law School of India University, Bangalore.
Amay works on projects that aim to formulate progressive policy positions around various sectors within the digital economy. He has a background in philosophy and sociology, and is particularly interested in the political economy of data and digital technology. He received his undergraduate degree (Liberal Arts) from the University of Maastricht, the Netherlands; and his Master's degree (Philosophy) from the Manipal Centre for the Humanities. He has conducted/managed research projects for various institutions, and has spent some time teaching across both high-school and university levels.
Amshuman is a Research Assistant at IT for Change. His work seeks to understand online life and its offline effects. He works on projects related to platform governance, intermediary liability, and gender, with the intention of making the internet a safer and more free space for all. He has a background in law and sociology.
Anita Gurumurthy is a founding member and executive director of IT for Change, where she leads research collaborations and projects in relation to the network society, with a focus on governance, democracy and gender justice. Her work reflects a keen interest in southern frameworks and the political economy of Internet governance and data and surveillance. Anita engages actively with policy makers, practitioners, social movements activists and the academic community to expand and deepen conversations on the public policy imperatives of the intertwining of the digital in all spheres of life. She also directs and draws inspiration from the work of Prakriye, IT for Change’s field centre, that works towards promoting women’s and girls’ leadership and digital capabilities.
Anuradha is Senior Program Manager at IT for Change. She has worked as an HR leader in the corporate sector for over two decades before transitioning to the development sector. She is currently pursuing a full time Master's in Social Anthropology (Development & Sustainability Pathway) from SOAS, University of London. She also has a Postgraduate Diploma in Management from India, a Postgraduate Certification in Gender, Sexuality and Society from Birkbeck, University of London, and a Postgraduate Certification in Technology Policy. Her work interests lie in the areas of the digital gender divide, technology and social justice, platform labor, identity and precarity studies, feminist approaches, and affect and materiality studies.
Anurag Shanker stands for social justice, democracy, and equality for himself and others. He likes to call himself a reformed Management Guy who saw the light before it was too late. After eight years in the software industry, he decided to do something a bit more inspiring.
Arindrajit Basu is Research Lead at the Centre for Internet & Society, India, where he focuses on the geopolitics and constitutionality of emerging technologies. He is a lawyer by training and holds a BA, LLB (Hons) degree from the National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata, and an LLM in public international law from the University of Cambridge, U.K.
Astha Kapoor is co-founder of the Aapti Institute, a research firm examining the interface between tech and society. At Aapti, Astha is leading the Data Economy Lab. She works on data governance, basic income, digitisation of welfare, work, and social architectures of technology. She has experience in research (Future State, SEWA), consulting (MicroSave, Dalberg), advisory (APPI), and government (Planning Commission).
Barbara Prainsack is a professor and Head of Department at the Department of Political Science at the University Vienna, where she also directs the Centre for the Study of Contemporary Solidarity (CeSCoS), and the interdisciplinary Research Platform “Governance of Digital Practices”. Her work explores the social, ethical, and regulatory dimensions of genetic and data-driven practices and technologies in biomedicine and forensics. Barbara is currently a member of the National Bioethics Commission in Austria, and a member of the European Group on Ethics of Science and New Technologies advising the European Commission. Her latest books are: Personalized Medicine: Empowered Patients in the 21st Century? (New York University Press, 2017), and Solidarity in Biomedicine and Beyond (with A. Buyx, Cambridge University Press, 2016). A new book will be published in August: The Pandemic Within: Policy Making for a Better World (with H. Wagenaar, Policy Press).
Bruno Carballa Smichowski
Bruno Carballa Smichowski is Researcher at the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission – Unit B6 – Digital Economy. His research interests span across data economics, digital economics, competition policy and the commons. He has a PhD in Economics from Université Paris 13, and he has previously worked with Chronos (Media Mundi) and the Digital Commons research group at the Open University of Catalonia.
Burcu Kilic is a scholar, lawyer and digital rights advocate. Her work is divided between digital rights and access to medicines. She directs the Digital Rights Program and is also the research director for Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines Program. Her unique expertise in intellectual property law and policy, information technology, innovation and trade policy secures her as a well-known and highly respected scholar and advocate in the field. She works with governments, international organizations and civil society groups around the world and promotes their participation in rule making.
Cecilia Rikap is tenure researcher at the CONICET, Argentina’s national research council, and visiting professor of the IDHES, Université Paris Saclay and associate researcher of COSTECH, Université de Technologie de Compiègne and CEPED, IRD/Université de Paris. Her research is centered around the rising concentration of intangible assets, focusing on power relations and the distribution of data and innovation-related economic gains, resulting geopolitical tensions, and the effects on knowledge commons & development. She is the author of the book Capitalism, Power and Innovation: Intellectual Monopoly Capitalism Uncovered (Routledge, 2021).
Chee Yoke Ling
Chee Yoke Ling is the Director of the Third World Network (TWN). She is an international lawyer whose areas of expertise include the environmental, social and economic impacts of globalization, especially in countries of the South. Since 1993 she has worked closely with key negotiators from the Global South, scientists and NGOs to campaign for bio safety and climate justice. Her current focus areas are: climate change, the interface between biodiversity/traditional knowledge and intellectual property rights, the relationship between multilateral environmental agreements and trade agreements, environmentally sound technology transfer, and developments on these issues at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Convention on Biological Diversity, World Trade Organisation, and the World Intellectual Property Organisation.
Freyja van den Boom
Freyja van den Boom is a legal scholar and Digital artist working on the intersection of digital innovation, autonomy and law taking a combined academic and artistic approach. Her current research focusses on data governance models and (global) personal data value chains, being affiliated with IT for Change and Sorbonne University; and as a PhD candidate on the issue of governing access to data from increasingly automated vehicles and telematics insurance with Bournemouth University. Previously she worked as a project researcher on European funded projects on Privacy and Data Protection, the PSI Directive, Open Access and Text and Data mining. Prior to that she worked as a Trademark and Design attorney and as a lecturer on Law and Ethics. She obtained her Bachelor and Master’s degree in Law (LLM) from the University of Tilburg in the Netherlands and a Master’s degree in Sociology of Law (MSc) from Lund University in Sweden. She is a founding member of the WWW.THECOPYRIOTS.COM art collective.
Gurumurthy Kasinathan is founder and director of IT for Change. He has 32 years of experience in the development and corporate sectors. Guru leads projects in the area of education, including in research, demonstration projects, systemic teacher education reform and policy advocacy. His areas of expertise include ICT integration in school education, teacher education and pre-service teacher education. He also works in the areas of school leadership and free and open digital technologies. He was earlier with Azim Premji Foundation, where he was deputed to work in the ‘Policy Planning Unit’ in the Karnataka education department. He has been a visiting faculty at TISS Mumbai and Hyderabad for their 'Education Leadership and Management' and "ICT and Education" courses.
Ingrid Schneider is Professor of Political Science in the Center for Ethics in Information Technology in the Department of Informatics at the University of Hamburg, Germany. Her research fields are technology assessment, governance, law, economy, and ethics of information technologies on which she published numerous publications. From 1996, she has advised several European Parliaments and the European Commission, and is Board Member of various European Scientific Associations and Research Projects. Current research projects include PRODIGEES – Promoting Research on Digitalisation in Emerging Powers and Europe Towards Sustainable Development (https://blogs.die-gdi.de/longform/prodigees/). Her website: http://uhh.de/inf-schneider, Twitter: @SchneiderIngrid
Kristina Irion is Associate Professor at the Institute for Information Law (IViR) at the University of Amsterdam, and a non-resident Fellow of the Center for Media Data and Society (CMDS) at Central European University in Budapest. Her research deals with the interpretation and analysis of the transformational processes that reconfigure the legal properties of digital data in line with societal needs. She has commented on key developments in EU data protection law and its progressive constitutionalization and how European law interface with a global digital ecosystem.
Mandvi Kulshreshtha, is an urbanist and a feminist. She is currently working as Program Adviser in the Economy of Tomorrow project of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) India office. The project explores social justice and equality aspects of three mega-trends in India – namely - energy transition, urban transformation and digital automation. She has worked on gender, youth and climate change interface, and is interested in ecological and social aspects of development.
Marina Micheli is a Scientific Project Officer at the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre. Her current works explores the governance of data for the public interest, examining in particular the actors’ perspectives and the emerging models. She is interested in the social value of data, digital inequalities and data power and her background is at the intersections of media studies and sociology. Prior to joining the Commission, she was a Senior Researcher and Teaching Associate at the University of Zurich (Switzerland) and a post-doctoral fellow at the Department of Sociology and Social Research at the University Milano-Bicocca (Italy).
Dr Nadezhda (Nadya) Purtova (LLM’05 CEU, MSc’06 Leiden, PhD’11 cum laude, Tilburg) is Associate Professor at Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society, the Netherlands. She does research on data protection and informational privacy law, recently, in the context of health, regulation of health technologies, property rights in personal data, data commons, and economic analysis of data protection law. Her dissertation on property in personal data is published by Kluwer Law International. At present she is a principal investigator in a five-year project funded by European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant “Understanding information for legal protection of people against information-induced harms” (ERC-2016-StG-716971 INFO-LEG). The project aims to re-examine conceptual foundations of the data protection law and commenced in March 2017.
Nandini Chami is Deputy Director at IT for Change. Her work largely focuses on research and policy advocacy in the domains of digital rights and development, and the political economy of women’s rights in the information society. She is part of the organisation’s advocacy efforts around the 2030 development agenda on issues of ‘data for development’ and digital technologies and gender justice. She also provides strategic support to IT for Change’s field centre, Prakriye. This includes training programmes for women’s rights groups on adopting digital tools in their field practice, and critical ‘education for empowerment’ for rural adolescent girls. She has a Master's in Urban and Rural Community Development from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai.
Parminder Jeet Singh
Parminder is a Senior Fellow at IT for Change. His areas of work are ICTs for development, Internet governance, e-governance, and digital economy. He has been a special advisor to the UN's Internet Governance Forum (IGF) and UN Global Alliance for ICTD. He was a part of UN working groups on IGF improvements and on enhanced cooperation on International Internet policy issues. He was the first elected co-coordinator of the premier global Internet governance civil society group Internet Governance Caucus. He is a founding member of Just Net Coalition and Internet Rights and Principles Coalition. He was associated with the group that helped develop India’s draft e-commerce policy.
Paul-Olivier Dehaye was a mathematics professor at the University of Zurich until 2016, before becoming a data protection advocate and social entrepreneur. He is the founder of several initiatives working around personal data. He is the director of PersonalData.IO, a nonprofit organization based in Geneva that focuses on data protection with the aim of empowering the civil society to actively respond to threats to our personal data. He is also the CEO of Hestia.AI, working on the HestiaLabs project building up data collectives. He is also a Board Member of MyData Global and the founder of MyData Geneva, two nonprofit organizations promoting the ethical use of personal data. He conducted research for several widely circulated newspaper articles, including with journalist Carole Cadwalladr in exposing the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal. This work also led him to appear in Netflix’s documentary The Great Hack and to testify before the British and European Parliaments.
Raymond Onuoha is a Technology Policy Fellow at the Lagos Business School (LBS), where his research focuses on the institutional and policy challenges in the evolution of the digital economy and technology innovation in developing countries, with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa. Raymond is Doctoral Fellow of the IDRC Award (2018) which aims to build emerging leaders in communications policy in the Global South and is currently a doctoral candidate at the Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance (NMSPG), University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa where his thesis interrogates competition policy in developing countries’ telecommunications market.
Robert (Bob) Fay is the Managing Director of digital economy research and policy at CIGI. The research under his direction assesses and provides policy recommendations for the complex global governance issues arising from digital technologies. Prior to joining CIGI, Bob was an economist at the Bank of Canada where he held several senior roles, including serving as the Governor Mark Carney’s chief of staff. Bob was also an economist at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and worked on a wide range of economic and labour market issues.
Salomé Viljoen is a joint postdoctoral fellow at the NYU School of Law Information Law Institute and the Cornell Tech Digital Life Initiative. Salomé studies how information law structures inequality in the information economy and how alternative legal regimes may address that inequality. Salomé’s current work focuses on the political economy of data. This work explores how the laws governing the data economy structure the incentives of data collection and the downstream uses of data-intensive technologies. In particular, she analyzes how such downstream effects may reproduce social oppression and amplify economic and relational inequality.
Sarah Ganter works at Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation (FES) in Berlin. She has an academic background in Political Sciences, Philosophy and Computer Sciences. She coordinates the work on Global (Digital) Economy at FES’ Department for Global and European Policy with a strong focus on digital justice, data governance and data infrastructure.
Shamel Azmeh is a lecturer in international development in the Global Development Institute at The University of Manchester. His research focuses on issues around international political economy, international trade policy, global value chains, digital trade, and labour, with a focus on the Middle East and North Africa region. He has advised a number of international organisations such as UNIDO, UNECA, the OECD, and contributed to policy debates at the WTO.
Siddharth de Souza
Siddharth de Souza is a postdoctoral researcher at the Global Data Justice project at Tilburg Law School, and works on matters at the intersection of law, data and society. He is the Founder of Justice Adda, a law and design social venture which develops innovative legal content to make the law accessible, useful and usable in India. He is also Co-Founder of d-Van, a design thinking transformations lab based in India.
Simonetta is Adjunct Professor at University of Trento.
Sneha is a Communications Assistant at IT for Change. She assists in content strategy, external communications and social media outreach for the organization. She also assists in the editorial and communication aspects of our digital magazine Bot Populi.
Stacco Troncoso teaches and writes on the Commons, P2P politics and economics, open culture, postgrowth futures, Platform and Open Cooperativism, decentralised governance, blockchain and more. He is the co-founder of DisCO.coop, project lead for Commons Transition and co-founder of the P2P translation collective Guerrilla Translation. His work in communicating commons culture extends to public speaking and relationship-building with prefigurative communities, policymakers and potential commoners.
Stefaan Verhulst is Co-Founder and Chief Research and Development Officer of the Governance Laboratory (The GovLab) at New York University (NYU) – an action research center focused on improving governance using advances in science and technology – including data and collective intelligence. His research and writing considers how advances in technology and science can be harnessed to create effective and collaborative forms of governance.
Tanvi is a Communications Assistant at IT for Change. She works on communication and design strategy for the organization. She also produces and hosts the Bot Populi podcast, and provides editorial and strategic inputs on BP's activities.
Trebor Scholz is a scholar-activist and founding director of the Institute for the Cooperative Digital Economy and professor at The New School in New York City. He is also a fellow at the Berkman Center at Harvard University. His books include Uber-Worked and Underpaid: How Workers Are Disrupting the Digital Economy, Digital Labor: The Internet as Playground and Factory, and the co-edited Ours to Hack and to Own: Platform Cooperativism: A New Vision for the Future of Work and a Fairer Internet. He recently co-authored Data Cooperatives for Pandemic Times in Public Seminar.
Vinay Narayan is Research Assistant at IT for Change. He is currently working on research projects that delve into health data infrastructures, data rights, surveillance, and artificial intelligence. He graduated from Gujarat National Law University in 2018 with a B.B.A.,LL.B. (Hons.) degree. He worked in corporate law at Khaitan & Co. before joining IT for Change to follow his interest in policy debates on the digital economy. He also nurtures a keen interest in aspects of public international law including space law.
Yogesh K S
Yogesh is Senior Project Associate – Technology at IT for Change. He is responsible for the design, development and maintenance of the cloud infrastructure. He is a keen Free and Open Source enthusiast and supports the expanding use of FOSS at IT for Change. He is an expert in various FOSS tools, including those that can be used for educational projects. He collaborates with online communities to improve the FOSS applications that are used in the organization across projects.