Ubiquitous Commons on Financial Times

On May 20th, thanks to Maija Palmer, an interesting article on Ubiquitous Commons entitled “Conflict over data ownership lies ahead” was published on Financial Times.

The article is available at this link:

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/2f8290b2-cc8f-11e4-b5a5-00144feab7de.html#axzz3bKEpEIEf

You can download a pdf version here.

[…] “But could a system be created that gave back some control to individuals? An international group of researchers led by Salvatore Iaconesi, a lecturer at the La Sapienza university in Rome, and Oriana Persico, a communication scientist, is trying to create a legal and technical toolkit that would allow people to do just that.

The concept, called Ubiquitous Commons (UC), would insert a layer between individuals and Facebook that specifies how a users’ details can be used. For example, when a user types an “I love kittens” post on Facebook and presses “send” the message would be intercepted by the UC platform and encrypted before it reaches Facebook. They would be asked to specify how their data might be used — perhaps for scientific purposes, but not commercial ones, for example.

The back end of the system would log the user’s instructions to a “blockchain” or electronic public ledger. The data could only be decrypted and accessed by organisations that fit the set criteria.

 

“There is a real inequality of power between individuals and companies when it comes to data,” says Mr Iaconesi. “When you configure your privacy policy on Facebook, not many people realise that you are configuring your privacy policy towards other people, not towards Facebook. They can see it all.

 

“UC would apply not just to social networks such as Facebook, but the whole internet of things — smart fridges and [activity monitoring devices].”

People would also be able to place controls over the personal physiological data that wearable devices might generate. You could allow your health data to be seen by a doctor, for example, but not by an employer or insurance company. If it were adopted, UC would change fundamentally the balance of power of data between consumers and companies.

 

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Last month the Ubiquitous Commons group was showing the technology to Italian farmers, who have become concerned that collection of crop data is being monopolised by large food groups such as Monsanto.

Previous attempts to create social media platforms that put users in control of their data have not taken off. The Diaspora project, created in 2009 as a Facebook alternative that put individuals in control of their information, and Ello, a social network set up in 2014 with a promise never to sell users’ data to advertisers or other third parties, have not gained ground against Facebook.

Mr Iaconesi says UC is not positioning itself as an ideological choice or anti-business. Its supporters are trying to gain wider backing for their project and EU officials have already been shown the technology as part of an awareness-raising campaign.

 

Mr Iaconesi says that Facebook has seemed to be open-minded about UC so far. “On a very low and informal level, we know a lot of their developers are interested in the project,” he says.”

 

 

 

HE/BA: installation, workshop, talk at Festival dell’Innovazione in Bari

Art is Open Source and Human Ecosystems, together with Nefula, and Ubiquitous Commons,  performed an interactive exhibit, a workshop and talk in the city of Bari during the Festival dell’Innovazione 2015.

The exhibit “HE/BA – Human Ecosystems Bari“, placed in the beautiful location of Teatro Margherita, realized a temporary version od the Realtime Museum of the City of Bari along the three days of the event.

HE/BA - Human Ecosystems Bari, interactive installation, Teatro Margherita

HE/BA – Human Ecosystems Bari, interactive installation, Teatro Margherita

For the occasion an hand-made furniture was realized, describing the Human Ecosystems strategy of implementation (functions and mechanism of harvesting, processes analysis and outputs, including the Realtime Museum of the City, the Lab and the education process) and role of Ubiquitous Commons.

HE/BA - Human Ecosystems Bari, installation, Teatro MArgherita

HE/BA – Human Ecosystems Bari, installation, Teatro MArgherita

HE/BA - Human Ecosystems Bari, installation, Teatro Margherita: hand-made forniture completed

HE/BA – Human Ecosystems Bari, installation, Teatro Margherita: hand-made forniture completed

More photos are available at this link.

The 6 hours workshop was structured ad an intense hands-ho experience, from the theoretical and philosophical approach of Human Ecosystems to the description and use of the HE platform, and the exploration of possible use cases scenarios.

HE/BA LAB: Human Ecosystems Workshop at Festival dell'Innovazione, Bari (Italy)

HE/BA LAB: Human Ecosystems Workshop at Festival dell’Innovazione, Bari (Italy)

The group participants, mostly composed by young policy makers, students and researchers, installed on their machines latest version of HE: all of them is now able to autonomously start their own experiment.

And is is already happening. XYLab, together with FF3300, is now joyfully playing with Human Ecosystems: as you can see from the pictures below, after the exhibit Bari observation is still open. This is the best result we could hope for from our workshop.

HE installed by XYLab in Bari

HE installed by XYLab in Bari

HE at work: view of Bari, by XYlab

HE at work: view of Bari, by XYlab

More photos from the workshop are available at this link.

The talk, conceived as a Lectio Magistralis and dedicated to Human Ecosystems and Ubiquitous Commons, was an effort to describe and communicate the complexity, tensions and conflicts emerging from our ubiquitous hyperconnected lives to an audience of high school students.

HE/Ubiquitous Commons Talk: showing the relational ecosystems of the city

HE/Ubiquitous Commons Talk: showing the relational ecosystems of the city

HE/Ubiquitous Commons Talk: describing Ubiquitous Commons

HE/Ubiquitous Commons Talk: describing Ubiquitous Commons

HE/Ubiquitous Commons Talk: interacting with high school students

HE/Ubiquitous Commons Talk: interacting with high school students

More photos can be found at this link.

Special Tanks to:

Alessandro Tartaglia, Alessandro Balena, Arti Puglia, XYLab, FF3300, Giacomo Equizi, Alice Vallini, Sara Diaferia, Annibale D’Elia, all the visitors and participants of Festival dell’Innovazione

Near Future Design and Ubiquitous Commons at Wired NextFest

Join us in Milan for Wired’s NextFest.

Art is Open Source, Nefula and Ubiquitous Commons will be there for an exploration on the implications of technologies and networks on our near-future lives.

On May 24th at 10:30 in the Giardini Porta Venezia Nefula will hold a Near Future Design workshop. This 6 hours long, hands-on, full immersion workshop will allow all the participants to move through the tensions and conflicts of the present, to imagine and design possibilistic future concepts, which will be designed as complex transmedia narratives.

The workshop will be held by Nefula’s Oriana Persico, Salvatore Iaconesi, Tommaso Cappelletti, Alice Meniconi and Mirko Balducci.

Access to the workshop is open: register here and come early if you want to make sure to join in.

On May 23rd at 11:30 at the WNF Audi Dome we will hold a talk and conversation about the Ubiquitous Commons: the commons in the era of ubiquitous technologies.

We will present the Ubiquitous Commons project, introduce the technological and legal toolkits which we are preparing, together with a wide network of researchers, lawyers, hackers, institutions and organizations, to re-appropriate our data and create positive, constructive processes for its sharing and common management.

This will be a talk, but also (and most important) a conversation. Everyone is invited to browse through the documentation and information about the Ubiquitous Commons, and to participate actively to the conversation.

All the events are found within the main area of the Wired NextFest festival, in the Giardini Indro Montanelli, Corso Venezia, 55, in Milan (take the underground MM Palestro stop). See a map here.

Festival dell’Innovazione: in Bari with Human Ecosystems and Nefula

Join us in Bari on May 21-23 2015 for the “Festival dell’Innovazione” together with Art is Open Source, Human Ecosystems, Nefula and ISIA, for a workshop on the Human Ecosystems and a Human Ecosystems installation about the real-time digital life of Bari.

The Human Ecosystems Lab will be a hands-on experience, and will give everyone the tools and knowledge to observe the public digital life of their city, and to use it for citizen activation and participation, to create generative artworks, designs, services and peer-to-peer emergent dynamics in the city. On Thursday 21st, from 9:30am to 6:30pm, at Fortino S. Antonio in Bari. Register Here.

The HE/BA (Human Ecosystems Bari) installation will feature interactive information visualizations which will show the real-time public life of the city of Bari, with all its locations, places, discussions, relations, voices all shown in real-time. From May 21st to May 23rd, from 9:00am to 8:00pm, at the Teatro Margherita in Bari.

Playing with Data: Ubiquitous Commons at King’s College in London

Come with us on June 3rd for a performative, full day workshop at King’s College in London in which we will experiment just how much data we generate as human beings, citizens and members of communities.

Register here!

Using the Human Ecosystems we will learn how to use this data in useful, positive and ethical ways, and how to regain control in deciding how this data should be used, through the Ubiquitous Commons.

These are the details for the workshop:

Workshop title: “Playing with Data in the Ubiquitous Commons”

Held by: Salvatore Iaconesi  and Oriana Persico

When: 3 June 2015 – 10:00-18:00

Where: King’s College London (Strand)

Playing with Data in the Ubiquitous Commons is a  day-long performative workshop using Human Ecosystems–a series of technologies are combined to harvest and analyse public data. We will explore our collective data to gain insight on the flows of communication, information, knowledge exchange, and of the patterns for emotional contagion. Together participants will use techniques such as Natural Language Analysis, Geo-referencing, Machine Learning, Network Analysis, and various Computational Sociology techniques to gather information about the communities in the city, including the places, locations, times, topics, emotions, opinions which they express, and the social architectures which they describe. Outputs will range from a series of research insights; interactive visualizations or installations; game concepts to be enacted with different communities; models for community engagement, and their testing through playful modalities; the description and enactment of meaningful urban rituals which promote public, inclusive collaboration and participation to city life under one or more issues.

The workshop is an interdisciplinary, critical and playful approach to our material assemblages as data-subjects; that is, our ubiquitous data and information generation, which express relations, emotions, locations, opinions, behaviours and the potential inferences therein. Participants will collectively explore the data and present insights. People of all levels of technological expertise are warmly welcome.

Salvatore Iaconesi is an interaction designer, robotics engineer, artist, hacker. TED Fellow 2012, Eisenhower Fellow since 2013 and Yale World Fellow 2014.

Oriana Persico holds a degree in Communication Sciences, is an expert in participatory policies and digital inclusion. She is an artist and writer and she currently teach Digital Design at ISIA Design Florence.

Register here!