Over the last couple of years concerns about privacy and control of personal data have increasingly moved from the fringes of the hacker community (e.g. Chaos Computer Club) to the mainstream, driven there by seemingly endless reports of ethically questionable treatment of personal data by (social media) companies, the introduction of increasingly powerful ‘smart’ devices that capable of deep intrusions into people’s private lives, and seemingly never ending reports of privacy invasive behaviour by spy agencies.
The EU regulatory framework for protection of personal data is undergoing major reform in order to tackle persisting differences between national data protection regimes across the EU. Additional objectives of the reform include strengthening data protection in line with its status as a fundamental right in the EU constitutional order, increasing public trust in online services, and minimising data controllers’ compliance burdens. As part of this reform the European Commission issued a proposal in 2012 for a General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which is to replace the current Data Protection Directive (Directive 95/46/EC).
As part of the continuing theme on Data Driven Innovation, Nesta published an article on their blog with the title “Striking a balance: Data protection vs. Data Driven Innovation”. In it they call for a debate for establishing the right balance between data protection and data driven innovation, to ensure that the UK economy does not suffer but also that personal data is not misused.
On December 12th,the CaSMa/CASS workshop on Corpus approaches to Social Medial Analysis took place at the University of Nottingham. The excellend workshop was delivered by Prof. Tony McEnery, Prof. Paul Baker, Dr. Claire Hardaker and Mark McGlashan from the ESRC Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science (CASS) at University of Lancaster.
Update to our blog item “Recommendations submitted to UN data revolution Expert Advisory Group” from October 28th. The final report from the UN Expert Advisory Group, titles “A World that Counts, mobilising the data revolution for sustainable development” was published in November 2014. While the primary focus of the report is on the potential for using rich data sources to improve local and global policy making towards achieving sustainable development, the report also acknowledges that the data revolution comes with a range of new risks.
On November 29th and 30th CaSMa will participate in the 2nd Web We Want festival at London’s Southbank Centre. CaSMa will have a stand at the Interactive Market where we will present the work we are doing to develop and promote ethical social media research.
In his article Dr. Duncan Shaw (U. Nottingham) raises the specter that the recent flood of media stories about leaks, hacks and misuse of personal data is eroding people’s trust in the concept of ‘big data’ to the extent that they may soon rise up in a revolt against the very notion of ‘big data’.
As part of the process for establishing the UN global development agenda after the 2015 millennium development goals (MDGs), an Independent Expert Advisory Group appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, called for expert recommendations on bringing about a data revolution in sustainable development (the call ran from September 25th to October 15th, 2014). For more information on the UN data revolution proposals, see http://www.undatarevolution.org.
In response to this call the CaSMa team put together the following comments:
The move towards making data publically available plays an important role in making public, and private, organizations more transparent and accountable towards the people they serve (i.e. their citizens or customers). Making data more accessible has also the potential to open up new avenues for feedback that could contribute towards innovative service improvements.
On October 9th 2014, CaSMa presented a talk on “Citizen centric approaches to Social Media analysis” at the “Computaional Models of Social Interaction” workshop. The workshop was organized by Dr. Ansgar Koene, in collaboration with Dr. Mirco Musolesi, Prof. Indrajit Ray, Dr. Ulrik Beierholm and Dr. Colin Rowat and was hosted by the Institute of Advanced Studies at the University of Birmingham.