Research Sprint Explores Cooperative Approaches to Data Ownership and Governance
Researchers and practitioners from around the world investigate the design and dilemmas of data trusts and cooperatives and how they can help communities
The New School's Platform Cooperativism Consortium and Harvard University's Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society are launching a Fall 2021 Research Sprint this week with a cohort of early-career researchers, cooperative leaders, and activists from 8 countries across 4 continents. The "Alternative Data Futures: Cooperative Principles, Data Trusts, and the Digital Economy" Research Sprint brings together this group to explore new pathways for democratic governance of collective data.
Around the world, a growing number of governments, businesses, and citizen collectives are turning toward data trusts, data cooperatives, and data collaboratives as possible answers for responsible, commons-oriented data management. A data trust is a legal entity that collects and manages personal information on behalf of its members. In cooperative or public data trusts, for example, privacy can be better protected, public services can be enhanced, and groups that are underserved by regulation can benefit. Although many questions about the functioning of data trusts are still under development, they represent a promising alternative.
Participants in the Research Sprint will examine existing data cooperatives and explore the data needs of the communities that cooperatives serve, asking questions such as: How can the histories of the various forms of cooperatives inform the structure of cooperative data trusts? Across a range of sectors, including health, fisheries, and social media, what kinds of challenges do data trusts help to address and how do communities benefit? Participants will investigate difficult social, legal, and technological problems linked to community ownership and data governance with the help of world-renowned experts on the data economy and platform cooperatives.
From advancing research in this emerging field to actively generating community-facing projects, the ultimate aim of this sprint is to benefit the global ecosystem of platform co-ops by envisioning concrete ways in which cooperative principles can be applied to participatory data governance.
Ana Aguirre Uriz Spain TAZEBAEZ – Travelling U | Mondragon University
Elettra Bietti Italy/United States Harvard Law School
Adriane Clomax United States University of Southern California
Noah DiAntonio United States Harvard College
Ander Etxeberria Spain TAZEBAEZ – Travelling U | Mondragon University
Megan Kelleher Australia RMIT University
Morshed Mannan Bangladesh/Italy European University Institute
Kelsie Nabben Australia RMIT University
Sadev Parikh United States Georgetown University Law Center; Harvard Kennedy School
Novita Puspasari Indonesia Universitas Jenderal Soedirman
Sadhana Sanjay India IT for Change
Janis WONG United Kingdom University of St Andrews