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Projects for an ethical management and use of data

Barcelona’s DSIPLAY cycle of digital social innovation experiences has dedicated a session to projects that stand out for their ethical management and use of data, such as Raval Data Commons and Wikidata.

It was held on 19 November at the Elisava school and coincided with the news that Spain's National Statistic Institute (INE) has started a study of Spanish citizens’ movements based on their mobile phone browsing data. The study raised suspicions among the general public, despite guaranteeing the anonymity of the information collected.

It is an example of the many questions that using data raises: What data do we generate? How are they used? What do we know as citizens about all this? This was the starting point at the session during which several practical apps for ethical management and use of data were presented.


Data commons for improving the neighbourhood

The meeting began with a run through the process of generating, collecting, selecting and displaying data. Guided by Griselda Casadellà, a sociologist from the Ethics Foundation, an institution dedicated to researching and analysing the ethical and legal impact of technologies in society, attendees were able to find out more about the Raval Data Commons project, which was subsidised by Impulsem el que fas 2017.

The Raval Data Commons is an open platform that allows Raval's businesses and organisations to share the data they have or collect. The goal is to create a data commons that enables an innovation environment to develop, as a basis for taking decisions for improving the neighbourhood.


Displays or how to make information understandable

Once the data are collected, displays are then used, so they can be better understood.

Fernando Cucchietti, the head of Data Analysis and Displays at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center and an Elisava lecturer in science displays, explained many different ways of making the information available easy for people to understand without necessarily knowing how to programme.

What displays ultimately achieve is an empathy with anonymous data. Such is the case with #cuentalo, a project for reporting the forms of harassment experienced by women and which went viral around the world in a matter of hours thanks, in part, to the capacity for conveying information which displays offer. 


Wikidata, the big unknown

The afternoon ended with an immersion in the Wikidata platform with the help of Florence Devouard, from the Wikimedia Foundation. Wikidata is a free, collaborative and multilingual semantic database which is capable of being read by both people and machines, thereby enabling instant updates of information in every language.

Wikidata is the main source of information that Wikipedia and many other information platforms feed off, such as the virtual assistants of mobile phones like Siri. Despite that, Wikidata is a big unknown. The spirit of Wikipedia is being the world's biggest source of knowledge and putting it at the service of people, wherever they are and whatever language they speak. Free and open-access knowledge without any restrictions apart from connectivity.

Wikidata, la gran desconeguda

La tarda va acabar amb una capbussada a la plataforma de Wikidata gràcies a Florence Devouard, de la Wikimedia Foundation. Wikidata és una base de dades semàntica, lliure, col·laborativa i multilingüe capaç de ser llegida tant per humans com per màquines, fet que permet l’actualització instantània de la informació en tots els idiomes.

Wikidata és la font principal d’informació de la qual es nodreix Viquipèdia i tantes altres plataformes d’informació, com per exemple els assistents virtuals dels telèfons mòbils com Siri. Tot i això, Wikidata és una gran desconeguda. L'esperit de la Viquipèdia és ser la font de coneixement més gran del món i posar-lo al servei de les persones, siguin on siguin i parlin l'idioma que parlin. Un coneixement gratuït, d'accés lliure i sense cap restricció més enllà de la connectivitat.

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