DEcentralised Citizen-owned Data Ecosystems

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= DECODE is a EU-funded research and trialling project on data-ownership by citizens, with Barcelona and Amsterdam as participants



Anoush Darabi:

"Over the next two years, Amsterdam and Barcelona will build technology to grant citizens more active involvement in the way their data is used. Via four pilot projects, run by the cities in collaboration with selected private organisations, individuals will be able to decide what projects they want to contribute their personal data to.

“Data could be enormously valuable in so many more ways than it currently is”

Each of the pilots aims to extract public utility from the data they access by building a “data commons”, sourcing information from the public and using it to improve lives. In Barcelona, participants will be able to send their healthcare data and other personal information to the city to be aggregated and used to inform policy. With “Making Sense”, the city will distribute sensors for citizens to measure noise levels in their areas.

In Amsterdam, the chosen projects are a neighbourhood-level social network, designed to empower and draw local people into policy formation and decision making, and a system to provide data to help govern the city’s alternative home renting platform: Fairbnb.

A core part of the project is a secure “digital wallet” being created for each participant, said Symons, from which they manage different elements of their personal data. Developed by a team at the Netherlands’ Radboud University, this online platform will contain each participating individual’s attributes and credentials — sensor data collected by smart devices, for instance — and allow them to share information with the projects which they hope to contribute to.

Unlike a conventional social network or internet platform, where all of an individual’s data is up for grabs, the wallet will ensure that only what was required for a specific project will be shared. Using distributed ledger technology, each participant will be able to set rules, which define how their data is to be used, and what is to be kept private or shared.

The technology allows users to change permissions easily and redefine the conditions of access. In the future, it could let individuals manage who gains access to what data, and for what purpose, whether for a city-led project or a private service.

Currently, cities find it difficult to improve and refine services through experimentation in the way that, for example, Facebook and Google are able to. Knowing how often individual citizens used a service, and what for, could rectify that." (