I really like Francesca and Jaromil in person, but I once again
have some trouble following some of the logic just as I had
problems supporting d-cent at its time...

Francesca Bria wrote:
> Tech firms are emerging as new feudal lords. They control essential
> digital infrastructures – in this case, data and artificial intelligence
> – which are crucial for political and economic activity. But it doesn’t
> have to be that way.

Yeah we have big trouble and it doesn't have to be this way indeed..

> We badly need a new social pact on data that will make the most of our
> data while guaranteeing citizens’ rights to privacy and information
> self-determination. This will require reconquering critical digital

So when we interact socially, our communications indeed remain ours?
They're not shared with everybody else?

> infrastructures – long surrendered to the likes of Facebook, Alphabet
> and Microsoft – and protecting citizens’ digital sovereignty. This
> should help in developing decentralized, privacy-enhancing and
> rights-preserving alternative data infrastructures.
> 
> Given the gloomy state of politics on both sides of the Atlantic, this
> might seem mission impossible. And yet, there’s one bright spot on the
> horizon: cities.

Cities can give us the decentralized secure social networking
we are craving for?

> Cities can’t, of course, solve all our digital problems: many of them
> need urgent attention at the national and global level. But cities can
> run smart, data-intensive, algorithmic public transportation, housing,
> health and education – all based on a logic of solidarity, social
> cooperation and collective rights.

Oh, so you are solving problems I didn't perceive like we
are having! Good... but wasn't the article about something else?

Actually, the problem I have with public transporation in
Berlin is the ridiculously expensive ticket prices caused
by privatization and corruption. How is a data commons
helping me with that?

The problem I have with housing is the how the richest 1% of
the planet doesn't know where to put its money, so it buys up
all cheap housing in cities worldwide, making rents skyrocket.
How is a blockchained data commons going to help me with that?
How do I impose a logic of solidarity on the richest 1% of
the planet?

Health.. education.. with blockchains? Huh? It's a bit like
saying technical progress will solve all problems of
injustice. The more we progress, the less it is working out.

> Barcelona, for instance, is experimenting with socializing data in order
> to promote new cooperative approaches to solving common urban problems:
> tracking noise levels and improving air quality, to take just two

Ah cool.. it's nothing I was perceiving as urgent but it's
always good to know somebody is taking care of that. How
do blockchains improve air quality?

> examples. This data is collected via sensors operated by citizens with
> the city taking the lead in aggregating and acting upon such data.
> […]
>
> We must challenge the current narrative dominated by Silicon Valley’s
> leaky surveillance capitalism and dystopian models such as China’s
> social credit system. A New Deal on data, based on a rights-based,
> people-centric framework, which does not exploit personal data to pay
> for critical infrastructure, is long overdue.

But a data commons is still a way personal data is made available
rather then kept personal... it's cool that there are collective
voting systems, but what is there to vote about my birthday photos?
Why does that have to go to a commons?

> In May, Europe will pass data protection rules based on worthy
> principles such as “privacy by design” and “data portability”. Coupled
> with new regulatory instruments in the areas of taxation and antitrust,
> such bold interventions can create alternatives where citizens have
> greater power over their data and the artificial intelligence-powered
> future built with it. Cities such as Barcelona are happy to show the way.

But GDPR only requires companies not to get caught selling or
losing data. It doesn't impede NSA from gathering the data
anyhow, and it doesn't guarantee anything will happen if
I can't prove they abused my data - which I never can.
I just know they did, like today when I got phishing mail
on an address I had given *exclusively* to a little Swiss
company that calls itself NGI4EU. But can I prove it? No!
It's just digital! It can be faked by anyone anytime!

I know my two friends in question have all the right intentions,
but promising "Here's how" to solve the big problems of society
and then actually delivering an approach that works fine for
air pollution measurement... but not at all for the Faceboogle
Cambridge Analytica problem... people might just get the
impression you are not on the same planet as them.

Is the road to hell paved with optimism?


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