Tag Archives: Ansgar Koene

Comment on: Striking a balance – Data protection vs Data Driven Innovation

Nesta_DatProtVDDIAs 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.

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CaSMa/CASS workshop: Corpus approaches to Social Media Analysis


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.

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Update to UN data revolution report: “A World that Counts”

UNreport_AWolrdThatCountsUpdate 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.

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Web We Want festival

CaSMa will participate in the 2nd Web We Want festival at London’s Southbank Centre. We 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.

Activities at our stand will include:

  1. A presentation to raise awareness about social media analysis and the ways in which combined information from multiple sources can reveal more about you than might be immediately obvious from your social media activity.
  2. Information sheets about your fundamental rights to privacy and data protection.
  3. Brief interviews to survey your views and concerns about social media research and ethics of internet mediated research in general.


The ‘Web We Want’ festival is dedicated to the idea that the World Wide Web can empower people to bring about positive change both in their own life and in the lives of others. The festival is part of the activities of the Web We Want movement, a global movement to defend, claim and change the future of the Web. Videos from the the 1st Web We Want festival that took place in September (27 & 28), also at London’s Southbank Centre, are available here.

“The [Web We Want] campaign is responding to threats to the future of the Web with a practical and positive vision — unleashing the power of people from around the world to defend, claim and change a Web that is for everyone. [With the] aim to bring about real change at a national and global level.”

“[The Web We Want campaign] focus[es] on using innovative approaches to build support for national and regional campaigns to create a world where everyone, everywhere is online and able to participate in a free flow of knowledge, ideas, collaboration and creativity over the open Web.”

“The Web We Want campaign will amplify, connect and strengthen local groups, especially in the developing world, building a movement to empower citizens to make, claim and shape the Web they want both nationally and globally, so as to achieve the world we want. Rooted in the vision of the UN Declaration of Human Rights and the goals of social justice, we convene around five key principles:

  1. Freedom of expression online and offline
  2. Affordable access to a universally available communications platform
  3. Protection of personal user information and the right to communicate in private
  4. Diverse, decentralised and open infrastructure
  5. Neutral networks that don’t discriminate against content or users”

CaSMa event at Web We Want festival (29 & 30 November 2014)

WebWeWantOn 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.

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Can regulation save people’s trust in big data?

BigDataHorsemeatComment on “Is big data heading for its ‘horsemeat moment’?” in the Conversation.

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’.

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Recommendations submitted to UN data revolution Expert Advisory Group

UN Data Revolution topics imageAs 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.

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Workshop event: Computational Models of Social Interaction workshop

   CaSMa_talk_title_page                                            Workshop_title_page

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.

Computational Models of Social Interaction

CaSMa_talk_title_pageComputational Social Science (CSS) lies at the intersection of applied mathematics, statistics, computer science, and the social sciences, combining ideas from each of these to discover and understand patterns of individual and group behaviours.

The rapid growth of internet services like Wikipedia, Google, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and the growing ubiquity of Smartphones, Wi-Fi and other ‘smart’ technologies that (can) collect data about human behaviour are fundamentally changing the way in which we can learn about the social world. In the age of “big data” information about human behaviour is being collected on a scale and never before possible and with tremendous granularity and precision. The ability to collect and process such data will enable researchers to address core questions in the social sciences in new ways and opens up new areas of inquiry.

As Internet and computer usage expands, so does the availability of large-scale, digitized information on social phenomena. The capacity to manage and analyze this information is increasingly important to multiple social domains and institutions in society. Computational sciences afford a variety of techniques to collect, manage and analyze this vast array of information, while the social sciences afford a variety of theories and understandings that can guide computational analysis. On their own, computer science can create new and useful technologies and social scientists can address important social problems and issues, but together they can apply computational techniques to analyze and explain incredibly vast and detailed information on social phenomena – in a theoretically informed way – which we could not imagine possible in the prior decade.

Against this considerable promise stands the equally pressing concern of protecting individual privacy. Privacy is already an important issue for all industries that collect digital information about their consumers. As CSS starts to combine the multitude of data with new insights, analytical and modelling methods, it raises increasingly serious questions about individual privacy, even more than are posed by existing commercial platforms. Precisely these questions, in fact, have already been raised by recent revelations of the NSAs Prism project, which also appears to be an attempt to combine data from multiple sources. The responsible development of CSS therefore requires that ethical issues must be considered at all stages.

09:30 – 10:00    Tea/coffee
10:00 – 10:15    Dr. Ansgar Koene (University of Nottingham/University of Birmingham)  – Welcome/Introduction
10:15 – 11:15    Prof. Steven Bishop (UCL) – ‘Models for social systems: What are they good for?’
11:15 – 11:45    Prof. Chris Baber (University of Birmingham) – ‘Building dark Networks: analysis modelling of network structures in covert groups’
11:45 – 12:00    Coffee
12:00 – 12:30    Dr. Ansgar Koene (UoN/UoB) – ‘Citizen centric approaches to Social Media analysis (CaSMa)’
12:30 – 13:00    Dr. Mirco Musolesi (University of Birmingham) – ‘Understanding Cities using Social Media Data’
13:00 – 13:30    Dr. Emmanouil Tranos (University of Birmingham) – ‘Mobile Phone Usage in Complex Urban Systems: a space-time, aggregated human activity study’
13:30 – 14:30    Lunch
14:30 – 15:30    Dr. Suzy Moat (Warwick) – ‘Predicting human behaviour with Internet data’
15:30 – 16:00    Dr. Colin Rowat (University of Birmingham) – ‘Applying mechanised reasoning to economics’
16:00 – 16:15    Coffee
16:15 – 17:15    Discussion/Grant application preparation