Data commons & the city

Wednesday, January 31, 2018 - 20:00 to 22:00
Pakhuis de Zwijger, grote zaal, Piet Heinkade 179, Amsterdam

It's becoming painfully clear that our digital sovereignty is under serious pressure. How can we ensure that it’s us, the citizens, and not big tech-companies, who decide how our data is collected, stored and used? Is it possible to develop tools that enable individuals to collectively share personal information on their own terms? And if so, how do we design these tools?

By looking at various initiatives from the European DECODE project, we challenged participants at this event to look at data from a different perspective: not as commodities, but as part of the commons. How can you use your data to benefit the city you live in? Four inspiring speakers discussed this topic.

DECODE presents: Data Commons and the City from Pakhuis de Zwijger on Vimeo.



Evgeny Morozov is a well-known writer and researcher from Belarus who studies political and social implications of technology. As publicist for The Guardian he has contributed many articles with critical views on the implications of technology on societal and political issues.

DECODE project coordinator Francesca Bria is Chief Technology and Digital Social Innovation officer at the municipality of Barcelona. She has a background in social science and innovation economics, a PhD from Imperial College, and an MSc in E-business and Innovation from the University College of London, Birkbeck.

Marleen Stikker is president and co-founder of Waag Society, a research Institute for creative technologies and social innovation; and founder of De Digitale Stad (The Digital City) in 1994, the first virtual community introducing free public access to the Internet. She is also advisor to the policy strategy group of the EU.

Fabrizio Sestini is Senior Expert (Advisor) in Digital Social Innovation within the unit “Net Innovation” of DG CONNECT of the European Commission. He is teamleader of the initiative “CAPS”, which aims at stimulating bottom-up innovative ideas for collaborative platforms to include citizens, grassroots organisations and civil society in participatory social innovation processes.

Saskia Naafs is a journalist and researcher with a background in urban sociology. As an investigative journalist, she frequently writes for the weekly De Groene Amsterdammer. She recently published her research on the development of smart cities and the accompanying risks of privacy violations.

Ger Baron, as Chief Technology Officer of the Amsterdam Economic Board, stimulates innovation and cooperation between corporations, knowledge institutions and government. His goal is establishing sustainable economic growth in Amsterdam and its surroundings.

Jaap-Henk Hoepman is associate professor in the Digital Security group at the RU Nijmegen, and principal scientist of the Privacy & Identity Lab. He is also an associate professor in the Law & IT department at the University of Groningen. His focus lies with privacy by design, privacy-friendly protocols for identity management and the IoT.

Caroline Nevejan (moderator) is the Chief Scientific Officer of Amsterdam. She is a researcher and designer who has been involved with the emerging network society and digital culture since the 1980’s. Nevejan is a regular presenter at national and international fora. She is an advisor to national and European policymakers.


20:00 Welcome - Caroline Nevejan (moderator)

20:05 Why we should care about digital sovereignty - Evgeny Morozov

20:20 DECODE the project - Francesca Bria (DECODE Project Coordinator and Chief Technology Officer, Barcelona City Council)

20:35 Designing a democratic digital city

Roundtable discussion with Caroline Nevejan (moderator), Ger Baron, Saskia Naafs, Francesca Bria, Jaap Henk Hoepman

21:10 The European Commission’s vision for digital sovereignty and decentralised collaborative platforms

Fabrizio Sestini (Senior Expert (Advisor) in Digital Social Innovation, European Commission)

21:20 National policy on data sovereignty in the Netherlands

Douwe Leguit, representing the Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations

21:30 Creating a data commons for the city of Amsterdam

Roundtable discussion hosted by Marleen Stikker & representatives of political parties D66, GroenLinks, Piraten partij, VVD PvdA

21:55 Reflection on the evening - Evgeny Morozov