Weeknotes

Tim Davies

Tim Davies

Tim Davies

Trying to follow our new weeknote format of “three brief takeaways in no more than 500 words”…

Associate Recruitment

The big news this week is that we’ve started recruitment for two new associate roles. Initially part-time fixed-term contracts until early next year, we’re hoping these roles will help us build capacity in the Connected by Data team.

I spent a chunk of Tuesday promoting the Research Associate role, and have been getting set-up to handle incoming applications.

You can also find the Policy & Campaigns Associate role here.

I did fall foul of a LinkedIn ‘dark pattern’ which meant my attempt to make a ‘free’ post about our roles ended up creating an application process through LinkedIn, which then was ‘suspended’ unless we paid to promote the job. I’ve then had to message any eligible candidates to direct them to our e-mail based process.

Co-working & plotting policy positions

On my way via London up to Kirkcaldy for a day with my old colleagues at Open Data Services Co-op on Tuesday, Jonathan and I grabbed a few hours of co-working at the Wellcome Collection cafe.

Building on last week’s monthly meetup, where we were exploring both the ‘missing middle’ of data governance, and some of the alternative policy proposals we may have a reaction to, we started to sketch out a two-dimension canvas on which we might plot the policy positions we’re taking.

On one axis, we have levels of governance:

Individual -> Community -> Company -> Legal System -> State Regulation

On the other axis, we have our support - ranging from policies we might reject (e.g. doubling down on individual data ownership), those we might want to reframe (e.g. consent as something neccessary, but not sufficient for effective data governance), and those that we want to introduce or advocate for (e.g. collective impact assessments).

We also took time to reflect on the Data Justice Lab event ‘Civic Participation in the Datafied Society’ that we’d both participated in the day before, and have written up some reflections from that here.

Grassroots data governance

How can grassroots civil society develop a powerful voice in data governance?

Everyday, grassroots civil society organisations face big data governance challenges. Data demands from funders & commissioners require them to collect, manage & share sensitive client or community information & to comply with complex security requirements. New algorithmic systems introduced by public authorities impact their constituents & call for critical appraisal, response or push-back. And every new digital system they use to deliver their work brings in a host of data governance questions to be unpacked & assessed, to avoid being part of a data-extractive economy

Yet, in reality, for many civil society organisations, these data governance issues are dodged, or defaults accepted without critique, because data just feels too scary, too complex, too distant and impossible to affect.

Along with Create Gloucestershire and Active Gloucestershire we’ve been hatching a plan to break down data fears, and build-up more critical grassroots conversations about data governance.

We just put out a first tentative call for interest here.

Other things from the last week

  • I’ve almost wrapped up all the interviews I have to do for our evaluation of Justice Data Matters, and I’ve made a start coding up themes.
  • I’ve had some inspiring conversations with Becky Hogge (talking data narratives), and Graham Smith (on citizens assemblies and participation design) and lots to write-up and explore more from these soon.
  • I presented the draft of a literature review on ‘Data Governance and the Datasphere’ for the end of my year as a Senior Fellow of the Datasphere Initiative. The full paper should be out at the Internet Governance Forum later this year.
  • I wrote up some reflections on a report from GovLab and DemSoc on governance of a data collaborative on Environmental Related Data.