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

Understand: a new simple app, and some source code

Understand is a new simple smartphone application in which we publish a magazine entirely made of abstracts of great articles on the web.

It is also an easy way to create a magazine on smartphones using a WordPress Blog, with full source code available.

Here you can find the Understand on the Apple Store for iPhone and iPad.

Note: Please download it! we publish our favourite articles on it, and we also get a few coins from the advertisements, so that we can keep on doing beautiful things. :)

And here is the full source code for it, on GitHub: Understand on GitHub

You are free to download it and re-use it as you see fit. (For example, we are using it with our students to create a magazine).

Please read the instructions on the GitHub page, let us know if you do something with it, and feel free to participate!

Human Ecosystems in Reggio Calabria

The Human Ecosystems project is landing in Reggio Calabria, the beautiful city at the tip of the boot of the Italian peninsula, full of history and culture.

Here we will explore the opportunities which can be found by gaining more understandings about the digital life of the city, together with citizens, organisations, city based associations.

We will meet on December 22nd 2014 at 8pm, at the Malavenda Café (Via Zecca 1, Reggio Calabria).

Here below are the Press Release and the biographies of the participants to the event (doc format, in Italian):

Human Ecosystems Reggio Calabria Press Release

Human Ecosystems Reggio Calabria Biographies

 

The Event

What shape does the relational ecosystem of Reggio Calabria have? Which nodes constitute it? Which emotions do citizens express on social networks? How do they interconnect? What could happen if a real time source open data would be made available to show the meeting places in the city of different cultures and communities; their influences; their bridges, hubs, experts, boundaries, connecting and separating them across themes, opinions, places and times?

They may look like questions coming out of science fiction, but in some cities of the world (such as Sao Paulo, Toronto, New Haven) they are already a reality.

We will talk about all of this on Monday December 22nd at 8pm at the Malavenda Café together with Oriana Persico, digital communication expert and co-founder – together with Salvatore Iaconesi, robotic engineer and hacker – of the Art is Open Source network, which created the Human Ecosystems project.

Human Ecosystems enables smart cities and smart communities observing the relational ecosystems of cities in real-time, to promote citizen participation and activation, as well as peer-to-peer and ubiquitous innovation processes. The project captures in real-time citizens’ public conversations on major social networks, in 29 languages, visualises them through info-aesthetic representations and generative sounds, and transforms them into a source of Open Data which is available to anyone, to make digital public space accessible and inclusive: an Ubiquitous Commons.

In fact, at the present time, it is only large operators and the managers of the large social networking platforms who have access to this citizen-generated data, to be used for their sole strategies.

Since its launch in 2013, Human Ecosystems has been used to create participatory policies, new forms of governance, urban planning, research, education processes, art installations and performances.

Back from Yale University, where Iaconesi held a fellowship, Persico will open up a dialogue with some of the major associations and startups of the city, who confront on a daily basis with the issues of urban regeneration, participative design, open data and social innovation: Letizia Cuzzola, president of Terrearse Lab, the association which promotes the “Sud Altrove” project; Giuseppe Mangano, co-founder of Pensando Meridiano, the Laboratory for Sustainable Culture, Innovation and Social Cohesion which is implementing the Reaction City project; Angelo Marra, who has just been nominated Digital Champion for the city of Reggio Calabria and, thus, the ambassador for the city’s digital innovation; Antonio Ottomanelli, artistic director of The Third Island project, starting from Calabria to create an observatory on the major public works in Italy; Domenico Rositano, president of Calabresi Creativi, winner of the MIUR 2012 grant with the project Smart DMO; Giuseppe Rudi, co-founder of Architetti Emergenti, winner of the Culturability 2013 grant; Eleonora Scrivo, territorial responsible for Action Aid, constantly active on the issues of transparency and participation through Open Data.

The A di Città Rosarno association collaborated in the realization of the event, in its effort to use participatory urbanism as a tool for citizen awareness.

The moderation will be performed by Josephine Condemi, Reggio Calabria born journalist (on Nòva – Il Sole 24 Ore), passionate about online and offline networks, and about social innovation.

Thanks to the support provided by the Laboratori Creativi.net it will be possible to follow the event live in streaming and in live-tweeting using the #humanrc hashtag.

Virtual is potential. Making it become real is our responsibility.

Links & Info

Fb event:

https://www.facebook.com/events/773690926047357/?fref=ts

Human Ecosystems:
http://www.human-ecosystems.com/

Salvatore Iaconesi&Oriana Persico
http://www.artisopensource.net/index.php#team

A di Città Rosarno:
http://adicitta.wordpress.com/

Architetti Emergenti:
http://www.architettiemergenti.it/

Calabresi Creativi:
http://calabresicreativi.it/

Digital Champions Calabria:
http://digitalchampions.it/

Pensando Meridiano
https://www.facebook.com/pensando.meridiano.3

Terrearse Lab
http://terrearse.it/

The Third Island
http://www.thethirdisland.com/

The Participatory Condition: Open Source Cancer. Brain Scans and the Rituality of Biodigital Data Sharing

Together with Alessandro Delfanti we have just finished writing a chapter on the forthcoming book “The Participatory Condition“, forthcoming on the University of Minnesota Press.

The chapter is titled: “Open Source Cancer. Brain Scans and the Rituality of Biodigital Data Sharing“, and it deals with La Cura project, which we created when Salvatore Iaconesi became diseased with brain cancer, and decided to turn the situation into a biopolitical performance interweaving hacking, society, anthropology and sciences.

From the chapter:

“While patient reclamation of the medicalized body is becoming a more common subject of discussion, by proposing the concept of the ritual we have here focused on the cultural significance of biodigital data: once liberated through hacking from their objectifying role in the context of medical institution, open source data provides a commons upon which new forms of digital solidarity can emerge.47 In doing so they can trigger public responses which enable collective reappropriations of the experience of cancer and other illnesses. Against techno-determinist ideologies, we also suggest that, by performing such rituals, members of digital countercultures—such as hackers—can turn to digital technologies, rather than only their bodies, as a battleground for the reconfiguration of social and political possibilities.”

The chapter will be featured in the forthcoming “The Participatory Condition“, a book resulting from the international dialogues originating from “#PCond. The Participatory Condition“, an International Colloquium held in Montreal at the Museum of Contemporary Art on November 15 and 16, 2013. The Colloquium’s main objective was to assess the role of media in the development of a principle whose expansion has become so large as to become the condition of our contemporaneity. The book is forthcoming and will be published in 2016.

The chapter, in an early, pre-release version, can be accessed at: http://www.escholarship.org/uc/item/0744f82b#

You can cite the chapter as:

Delfanti, A. and Iaconesi, S., “Open Source Cancer. Brain Scans and the Rituality of Biodigital Data Sharing,” in Barney, D., Coleman, G., Ross, C., Sterne, J. and Tembeck, T. (eds): The Participatory Condition. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press (forthcoming).