Beyond Surveillance Capitalism: Reclaiming Digital Sovereignty

Beyond Surveillance Capitalism: Reclaiming Digital Sovereignty

16-17 October 2018
CCCB, Carrer de Montalegre, 5, 08001 Barcelona, Spain

DECODE is a multidisciplinary EU project that aims to emphasize the centrality of data sovereignty to a fully democratic digital society while bootstrapping a privacy-enhancing, decentralised and rights-preserving data ecosystem.

The DECODE Symposium sought to articulate a strategic vision of how digital technologies can facilitate the transition from today’s digital economy of surveillance capitalism and data extractivism – whereby a handful of US- and China-based corporations battle for global digital supremacy – to an alternative political and economic project. That project, we hope, will include more democratic, egalitarian, and public alternatives to today's highly hierarchical and privatized platform consensus.

The Symposium was intended to be a meeting point for two groups: those with a strong interest in economics and geopolitics of technology; and those with a good grasp of current technological developments, especially big data, AI, industrial automation, decentralized trust protocols and so on. We believe that it’s at the intersection of these two worlds that many of the emerging techno-political issues – from global trade to economic national development to the future of welfare – are to be tackled.


The Perils of Surveillance Capitalism

Keynote speech from Shoshana Zuboff, Harvard Business School, followed by an open debate
Day 2, 16:30-18:30

Digital Capitalism: Where We Are Today?

Keynote and Q&A with Evgeny Morozov
Day 1, 10:15-11:00

The Battle for Digital Supremacy: Chinese Technological Politics and the New Global Order

Keynote and Q&A with Yuezhi Zhao
Day 1, 17:00-18:00


Francesca Bria

Commissioner of Technology and Digital Innovation, DECODE Project Lead
City of Barcelona

Francesca Bria is the Commissioner of Digital Technology and Innovation for the city of Barcelona and the leader of the DECODE project, the biggest European effort on data sovereignty. She is a Senior Researcher and Expert on technology and digital policy and an adviser for the European Commission on Future Internet and Innovation Policy.

She has a PhD in Innovation Economics from Imperial College, London and MSc on Digital Economy from University of London, Birbeck. As Senior Programme Lead at Nesta, the UK Innovation Agency, she has led the EU D-CENT project, the biggest European Project on direct democracy and digital currencies. She also led the DSI project, advising the EU on digital social innovation policies. She has been teaching in several universities in the UK and Italy and she has advised Governments, public and private organizations and movements on technology and innovation policy, and its socio-economic impact.

Tulio Rosembuj

Universitá LUISS, Rome

Tulio Rosembuj is a former Professor of Financial and Tax Law at the University of Barcelona, currently guest professor at the Universitá LUISS, Rome, where he directs the course Diritto Fiscale Europeo. His most recent published book is Tax Morale (2016).

He is the author of several publications in his field of study. Among them: Intangibles. La fiscalidad del capital intelectual (2003); Intercambio internacional de información tributaria (2004); Medio Ambiente y Comercio Mundial. Los impuestos (2005); Los impuestos y la Organización Mundial del Comercio (2007); Minusvaloración del impuesto y Responsabilidad Social Corporativa (2009); El impuesto ambiental (2009); El arbitraje fiscal internacional (2010); La crisis financiera y el arbitraje fiscal internacional (2011); Principios Globales de Fiscalidad Internacional (2012, 2013); El impuesto digital (2015), Digital Tax (2015), Bitcoin (2015).

Alexey Ivanov

HSE-Skolkovo Institute for Law and Development

Alexey Ivanov leads the HSE-Skolkovo Institute for Law and Development ( in its academic and strategic pursuits. Ivanov has guided the HSE-Skolkovo joint venture since its inception, directs the Institute's research and progress, and engages the findings of the Institute at the forefront of leading domestic Russian and international legal and policy arenas. Ivanov also researches at the Centre for Law, Economics and Society at University College London, with particular contribution to their Social Media Unit. He is co-founder of the boutique law firm Nadmitov, Ivanov and Partners.

Ivanov graduated with a Masters Degree in Law from Harvard University in 2011, and he earned his first Masters from the Russian Presidential School of Private Law in 2004. Ivanov is a graduate of the Faculty of History and Political Science of the Russian State University for the Humanities (2002).

Sanya Reid Smith

Third World Network

Sanya Reid Smith is a Legal Advisor and Senior Researcher at the Third World Network, an international coalition specializing in development issues and North-South affairs.

Sanya travels the world in tireless advocacy for poor people in developing nations, on topics including access to medicines, womens' rights and environmental sustainability.

Maria Ptashkina

International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development

Associate Fellow at International Center for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD), contributor to research group on services and digital economy.  Economics PhD candidate at University Pompeu Fabra (UPF), Barcelona, Spain. Former delegate and member of inter-government policy research groups on issues related to international trade and investment (APEC, G-20, BRICS, OBOR).

Renata Avila

Executive Director
Smart Citizenship Foundation

She is the current Director of Smart Citizenship Foundation, with offices in Rio and Sao Paulo. International human rights lawyer and digital rights advocate. In her practice, she represented indigenous victims of genocide and other human rights abuses, including the prominent indigenous leader and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Rigoberta Menchu Tum. She also represented awarded journalist Julian Assange and Wikileaks since 2009. 

Avila sits on the Board of Creative Commons and a Coordinating Collective member of Diem25, a movement to democratise Europe launched by Yanis Varoufakis. Her book Women, Whistleblowing, Wikileaks was published by OR Books. She is currently writing a book on Digital Colonialism and regularly writes for several international newspapers.  

Marleen Stikker


Marleen Stikker (1962) is founder of Waag and also founder of De Digitale Stad (The Digital City) in 1993, the first virtual community introducing free public access to the Internet. She leads Waag, a social enterprise that consists of a research institute for creative technologies and social innovation and Waag Products, which launched companies like Fairphone, the first fair smartphone in the world.

She is also member of the European H2020 Commission High-level Expert Group for SRIA on innovating Cities / DGResearch and the Dutch AcTI academy technology & innovation.

Andres Arauz

Former Minister for Knowledge and Human Talent of Ecuador

Andres Arauz is an Ecuadorian economist. He served as Minister of Knowledge, Deputy Minister for Planning and COO of the Central Bank in the Government of Ecuador. He is a member of the board of the Bank of the South.

He has written extensively on geopolitics, procurement, money and technology. He is now pursuing a PhD at UNAM - Mexico.


The Decode Symposium is part of the Open City Thinking Biennale

Event organised and hosted by Francesca Bria and Evgeny Morozov

Project coordination by Anna Higueras, Olga Coscodan, Nesta, SokoTech and Eurecat.