Citizens in the Data Economy

Linnet Taylor
Mika Pantzar
Valérie Peugeot
01 Sep 2017
9:00 - 10:00 // DAY 3: Helsinki

Citizens in the Data Economy

This plenary session is hosted by Valerie Peugeot.

Room MAIN STAGE in Kultuuritalo

We all tend to build our vision of society on simple models, and the data world is no exception. Let’s mention two of them. The first one is related to how a person is considered: we look at him or her as consumer in his or her relations and interactions with economic actors; and as a citizen in relation to public bodies. The second one is related to the way we define data protection: the protection runs as long as the data is identified or identifiable, that means related to a person, called a data subject; in the opposite situation, once anonymised or aggregated, data privacy protection vanishes.

In this session, we are going to shake those popular beliefs and understand that in a digital world we can no more rely on those simple schemes. Mika Pantzar will help us in understanding how the separation between the passive consumer and the citizen has blurred in digital societies, and how the question of participation or contribution, crosses over the economic and the policy sphere. Linnet Taylor will question the ways that the individualistic philosophy that our legal system is built on limits data protection possibilities and will share with us her reflexions on a still to be built group privacy.


Consumer Citizenship in Data Economy // Mika Pantzar

In a “consumer republic”, a society which has consumption at its heart, the citizen cannot be untied from the consumer. As we move forward at a quick pace into the data economy, the consumer citizenship gets transformed, accelerating a long process which started back in the 1930s. After being considered only as an audience for decades, consumers gained a new role in the 1990s, becoming co-producers and co-innovators. Years 2000 and the Web2.0 turned them into content providers. Will the years 2020 produce a new figure of the data consumer ? Is this data consumer also a data producer ? Will he or she gain in power or is it on the opposite a regression in terms of autonomy, citizens becoming sensors contributing to the AI of huge Chinese and American platforms?

From My Data to Our Data // Linnet Taylor

Current frameworks for data governance focus on the individual: data ownership and control, individual rights and protection from individual harms. Yet big data is used to analyse group characteristics and dynamics as much as it is used to identify individuals: population dynamics and human mobility, risk scoring and predictive analytics are all based on group-level analysis of what is often de-identified data. Yet these analytics make it possible to nudge, influence and manipulate. Where is the protection for groups? What change in perspective is necessary to address big data’s collective implications? And what would this mean for the law?