Keynote: Networks, participation and Open Government
Juan Ignacio Criado Grande, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
Social technologies are the new engine of the Network Society.
What recent global revolutions had in common is the possibility that anonymous citizens, people that had never met each other, can communicate among themselves and can take action after that. This is the potential of the Web 2.0.
But if the hype of the Web 2.0 is smoothly down, Open Government has been a common topic for ages. This is especially true in Anglo-Saxon countries, but not in Latin countries, where gobierno abierto is a new thing: there’s much work to do in this field in certain economies (e.g. Spain).
Open data, if well structured and linked, can become rich data and be much more useful.
Open Government: towards a new paradigm of public adminitration?
But open government is not only opening, or technology, but a new paradigm of public administration, based on transparency and accountability, dialogue and participation, to enbale a collaboration between citizens and the government.
- Transparency: end of the monopoly of the state on information.
- Participation: citizens have to be engaged.
- Collaboration: the more actors the better to solve a problem.
This approach has to be put into practice, with real policies, and policies that can be measured and evaluated.
But is openness good for everyone? What about privacy? Openness can have its drawbacks and we have to be aware of them.
What are public administrations doing in social networking sites?
What do social networking sites allow governments to do?
- Constant conversation.
- Collaborative content.
- Constant evaluation.
5 participation levels:
Social media allow governments to build a community, build a network.
With open government we are
trying to install a new software on an obsolete hardware. So, the management of change becomes key for success.
An important caveat: are we using new technologies to achieve our goals? Or just for the sake of using them and look cool?
The importance of the perpetual beta: organizations have to learn to learn, to be in the logic of constant learning. We have to quickly evolve from open government towards intelligent government.
Notes from the Perspectives on International Education Seminar: Mobile Learning, organized by the Fundació Jaume Bofill and held in Barcelona, Spain, on September 23rd, 2014. More notes on this event: moblearnfjb.
How to incorporate mobile devices in learning in Catalonia?
Chair: Valtencir Mendes, Fundació Jaume Bofill
Mobile learning: an approximation from the Catalan context
Mercè Gisbert, Universitat Rovira i Virgili
+70% of households in Catalonia have a computer with Internet access at home, almost all of them with broadband connectivity.
Mobile phone ownership is almost 100% of the population.
So, we can state that, in most cases, connection to the Internet and mobile connection to the Internet is “not an issue” — there are exceptions, of course, especially when it comes to the quality of mobile connectivity.
Thus, there’s a real opportunity to use mobile phones for both accessing information and communicating in matters related with education and learning.
If physical spaces define or determine learning, can we rethink our learning spaces to adapt them to new ways of learning enhanced by mobile technologies?
On the other hand, new generations do use technology pervasively. But, do digital learners (digital natives, etc.) exist as such? Are they digitally skilled? Is the same thing being digitally literate and being digitally skilled? New generations are sure digitally literate, but being skilled requires specific training that most did not have (yet).
Mobile learning necessarily leads us to the debate of open content and open learning.
We need new rules of the game: online reputation, bullying, violence, sexting, lack of privacy, etc.
Education in the 21st century
David Atchoarena, ICT in Education, UNESCO
Today’s learners live in a knowledge-based and globally interconnected society, largely driven by digital technologies. To acquire 21st century skills, students should be empowered especially as self-directed learners.
There are unique benefits of mobile technologies for learning:
- Facilitate personalized learning: active learning; use of ICT to socialize and informally learn; life-long learning.
- Provide immediate feedback and assessment: more feedback; formative assessment; valuable information to parents and teachers; provide (technology enhanced) guidance to learners in unprecedented ways.
- Enable anytime, anywhere learning: new times and places where learning had been inappropriate or impossible; constant access to information and communications; hybrid models.
- Situated learning: most meaningful learning usually happens outside the classroom; geo-tagging, image recognition; bring real experiences into the classroom; connect teaching with one’s own lives.
What to do?
- Create or update policies related to mobile learning. And not only mobile specifically, but ICT-enhanced learning in general.
- Train teachers to advance learning through mobile technologies.
- Provide support and training to teachers through mobile technologies.
- Create suitable content.
- Ensure gender equality for “mobile students”: men and women feel different about technology, and this can cause differences in adoption.
- Guarantee connectivity.
- Strategies to provide equal access for all.
- Promote the safe, responsible and healthy use of mobile technologies.
- Raise awareness of mobile learning through advocacy, leadership and dialogue.
Joaquín Gairín: There is quite a broad agreement on mobile learning, learning and ICTs, etc. The problem is that we do not do anything about that because there are many reluctances and resistances against change. Unless we identify and address these reluctances, there will not be any advancement on mobile learning.
Nati Cabrera: most of these resistances have been identified, including their source. One of the main reasons for not advancing is that there is not a state deal to design and coordinate long-term educational strategies.
Mercè Gisbert: we should not forget that learning —not teaching— is a collective responsibility, and not only the school’s. Unless we become aware of that, there is no way that we can change the whole framework.
Jordi Musons: we have to move out of our comfort zones, and help others to.
Pilar Soro: we need to add other “technologies” in the classroom, like arts, or corporal expression. It is the mix of different technologies that will make a change.
Ismael Peña-López: we keep on talking about mobile learning when we are meaning mobile teaching, or mobile-enabled education system. We should definitely move from an education system towards an learning platform, and, thus, from mobile teaching to ubiquitous learning. It is then that we will find out that the problem is not (or the main problem is not) technology, or even skills, but the system itself. E.g. the problem with mobile assessment, or flexibility, is not whether Moodle renders well on a mobile phone, but whether and how the facilitator will be there for the learning during a Saturday evening.
Miquel Àngel Prats: it is not about mobiles, but about resistance to change. And we have to be aware that it is not only about teachers, but also about the boards of directors of the schools and families. We have to put ourselves in the shoes of others, to be empathetic and understand how other actors feel about these changes. On the other hand, we need evidence of successful cases that can be used as examples to follow.
Evaristo González: we have to be patient and help others in their transition into new practices. And practice is the word. We have to speak from practice, from experience. And one has to be bold and daring.
Antoni M. Romero: this is an old story, the story of the computer in the classroom, digital whiteboards, etc. We have to go beyond that, beyond a specific technology. We have to go beyond technology. We have to face global change. And face it by piloting, assessing and scaling.
Eduard Vallory: it’s systemic change or nothing. If we do not change the whole system, it will be impossible to replace just a piece of it. And part of this system relates to non-cognitive skills, which now come to the front row in importance.
Jordi Vivancos: we have been dealing with learning about technology (e.g. learning to code), or learning from technology (e.g. digital handbooks), but the challenge is on learning with technology. And the context is the change in the concept of information and knowledge: what is now information and what is now knowledge, what are their natures. And the thing is that information now is abundant and ubiquitous. Thus, we need to reflect on the notion of information and knowledge before we go on talking about education.
Mercè Gisbert: we should leverage the potential of ICTs in education to provide data and evidence themselves on their own performance. Learning analytics, as a concept, is an interesting one to explore.
Charis: Joan Balcells Padullés. Lecturer, School of Law and Political Science (UOC).
Are Social Media changing party politics? Brokers among the members of the Catalan Parliament Twitter Network.
Marc Esteve i del Valle, PhD student on the Knowledge and Information Society Programme at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC). Researcher at the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3); Rosa Borge Bravo; Associate Professor of Political Science at the UOC and researcher at the IN3
When looking at the political usage of Twitter in political parties, it is noticeable that it’s not the leaders but other members of the party the most active on Twitter. Are we before the appearance of ‘brokers’ that bridge different political clusters?
H1: Given the high density of the Catalan parliamentarians’ Twitter network, its high reciprocity, its clustering structure and the particular working milieu that it reflects, we expect the appearance of structural holes and therefore brokers.
H2: The Catalan parliamentarians who are young, highly educated, highly active on the Internet and parliamentarian works and belong to the ruling party, are more likely to be the bridges of the Catalan parliamentarians’ twitter network.
The dependent variable was the degree of centrality in the network, and as independent variables there were many: socio-economic, political, about your personal network, etc.
Results showed that the Parliament is a not very dense network, but also that it is a close one. It’s a closed and affiliated universe. 26 MP where considered as being brokers. They are not leaders of their respective parties and, indeed, they often neither belong to the mainstream ideology of the party.
We can cluster all the MPs in 4 communities, whose composition changes along time (January to March, 2014).
H1 is corroborated. But H2 is not. For being followed is important to have a blog, to speak a lot at the plenary and to hold a MP position, but there is no relationship with socio-demographic characteristics, no official role at the Parliament, no interventions to the commissions, no tweet intensity, no incumbency, no Internet use.
La desrepresentación política. Potencialidad de Internet en el proceso legislativo.
Francisco Jurado Gilabert, Jurista e Investigador en el Laboratorio de Ideas y Prácticas Políticas de la Universidad Pablo de Olavide. Doctorando en Filosofía del Derecho y Política en el IGOP, Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona.
We have a context where even the voters think that the Congress or the Senate represents the people… despite the fact that the Law says that it is so. On the other hand, there are other institutions of “direct” participation, which are not actually such, as they require some approvals or backing from the representative institutions.
Political representation is forced: one cannot chose not to be represented by the Parliament (e.g. as one can choose a lawyer to represent them in a trial). Elections are not about being represented or not, but only about somewhat influencing who is going to represent the whole citizenry. Why is it so? Why is the citizenry forced to be represented? There do not seem to be solid reasons to be politically supervised and represented. The only reason being the incapability of gathering everyone together, at the same time and at the same place for decision-making.
And it gets worse: the laws that frame representation are increasingly used as barriers against the entrance of competitors. It is difficult to create a new party or to create a new political platform. Pitkin’s dimensions of representation (1967) are systematically violed: there is no authorization or empowerment, no accountability, no suitability, no symbolic dimension (or just a little bit), no substantive representation of interests.
We need an act of de-representation, of demanding representation back. Maybe not the whole time, but on demand, when it is needed.
And there are many ICT tools that come very handy for that purpose.
MiFirma.com [MySignature] is a non-profit organization to collect signatures to promote certain initiatives. The difference with other petitioning sites is that at MiFirma signatures are electronic and thus legally binding. For instance, formally and officially signing political initiatives.
Setting up the platform is easily in technological terms than in legal terms. One needs and administrative authorisation, the platform has to accomplish some (non-justified) requirements and restrictions on the time of e-signature to be used, etc.
10th Internet, Law and Politics Conference (2014)
Chairs: Miquel Peguera. Senior Lecturer, School of Law and Political Science (UOC).
The modification of the Spanish RDL 1/2007 de 16 de noviembre, by the new Law 3/2014 de 27 de marzo with the aim to transpose the Directive 2011/83/UE on electronic contracts with customers has changed many of the conditions in the procedures of a contract such as the right to inform the customer, their right to cancel the contract, and the duties of the seller to deliver.
Though the aim of the Directive is the harmonization of the digital market, it does not seem that there will be an increase in contracting through the Internet, neither at the national nor at the international levels. We believe that this still depends more on sociological or psychological factors rather than on the regulatory framework.
Competitiveness, privacy and customer protection as pillars of the European common digital market.
Ramon Miralles, Coordinador de Auditoria y Seguridad de la Información. Autoridad Catalana de Protección de Datos.
If Europe needed a unique market, it was time to act and to have a roadmap. That was the idea behind the Digital Agenda for Europe.
Privacy and, especially, trust in the system were top priorities.
One of the problems of Europe is that it reacts very slowly.
It seems that the new trends in e-commerce will be determined by privacy and trust. Data protection, consumer protection and competition could be the core policies in e-commerce in Europe.
News in the right to information of the customer in electronic contracts
María Arias Pou. Directora de ARIAS POU Abogados TIC. Coordinadora de la Comisión de Menores de APEP. Profesora de Derecho de las Nuevas Tecnologías de la Universidad Europea de Madrid.
The new Directive on the rights of the customers implies some changes in the right to information of the customer in electronic contracts. Changes that, at their time, change again along the whole process of transposition to the Spanish regulatory framework.
The problem is that the regulation that applies is disperse, with three scenarios: a contract with a customer, at a distance, online. This mess actually challenges the principle of ‘minimum information’, which becomes worse when it has to be accessed through mobile devices during the process of informing the customer.
Electronic commerce plays nowadays a crucially important role in both professional and private activity of European consumers and businesses. The precontractual information duties are one of the factors that distinguish online contract formation between businesses and consumers from other ways of selling goods and services. The rules that apply to the e-commerce in the scope of the European internal market originate in two different legal systems, that is in the European law and in the national law. The aim of this study is to analyse and compare remedies available to consumers in the case of breach of information duties by the trader. The traditional contract law of Spain and England offers various remedies for not providing the other party with the due information. The interest in comparing those legal systems lies in the possible high number of cross-boarder transactions and the different nature of common and continental law. Even though the European legislation imposes numerous information duties, usually the remedies available for breach of those duties are left to the Member States’ internal law, and therefore the analysis of the remedies available in the internal national law results necessary. The remedies that will be analysed and compared in this study are, under English law, misrepresentation, fraudulent, negligent or innocent, mistake, breach of statutory duty and breach of contract, and in what refers to Spanish law, remedies for vices of consent, for culpa in contrahendo, and for breach of contract.
How do we protect customers in the so-called Internet of Things? Is our regulatory framework prepared for the Internet of Things?
The Internet of Things will challenge matters of privacy, or (technological and personal) security. An imbalance in how we solve these challenges may incur in power imbalances. There is a growing risk of firms can take advantage of some procedures to abuse the customer.
The Internet of Things presents three main scenarios of added value: sensors, apps and cloud computing services. Depending on where business happens, regulation will necessarily have to adopt.
We need codes of behaviour and governance for application platforms.
10th Internet, Law and Politics Conference (2014)
Chairs: Agustí Cerrillo, Professor, School of Law and Political Science (UOC).
Julián Valero. Professor of Administrative Law at the University of Murcia (Spain).
From digitalization to technological innovation: A juridical assessment of the modernization process of Public Administrations in the last decade
From digitization to technological innovation. The good thing about ICTs is especially the innovation they can bring with them into governments.
Is open government, open data, transparency a hype? Or is it a true believe in how things can be made different (and better)? It seems that the paradigm of accessing a document to be able to begin a procedure is over, that the government is already beyond that stage.
But many times it is not so: the government still creates laws (like the Spanish Law of Transparency) for the past, where the paradigm still is the standard procedure but digitized. With no improvement. We regulate access to documents, when citizens ask for access to data.
The theory is that we’re heading towards a smart government that provides services on demand. But it is a real practice only in very few cases.
The intensive use of technology has implied the appearance of new intermediaries between the administration and the citizen: technological intermediaries. And this appearance of new intermediaries often have an impact with legal issues. E.g. if I cannot access public information due to technological questions, who is liable for not respecting my right to information?
To be able to provide a 24×7 service, the administration now “lives in the cloud”… with all the strings attached to this decision: where are the citizen data, whose are those data, how to enforce the law or the service, etc.
And these problems get even worse when we speak about smart cities and big data.
We need technical norms as a guarantee of the juridical norms. We need technical knowledge to be able to design and enforce the best laws.
If we believe that ICTs can improve efficiency, we need to automate some procedures. Get rid of the human that is
only clicking ‘next’ ‘next’ ‘next’ and adding no value. This is a major challenge for public law, but one that needs being addressed. And being addressed from the start, when we are designing the technological tools. Regulatory frameworks and technological deployments should evolve in parallel.
We have to tell content from container. What matters is not the container, but content; what matters is not the document, but data. And this content has to be accessed with the independence of the container: we need open linked data.
We have to reset our legal guaranties. To assert our rights. To simplify procedures… or just get rid of the concept of “administrative procedure”… or to create ad-hoc and on-time procedures.
Nacho Alamillo: the lobbies of the industry are setting up de facto standards (which often become de iure standards) but there are no representatives of the citizenry in the agoras where the lobbies meet. What should we do about that? Julián Valero: this is a very wicked issue. Yes, the citizens should participate in these debates, but we do not how. To regulate the participation in these agoras would not be enforceable or realistic. Maybe focusing on where the norm is applied (e.g. contracting some technologies) would be a better approach.
10th Internet, Law and Politics Conference (2014)
Chairs: Mònica Vilasau, Lecturer, School of Law and Political Science (UOC).
Yves Poullet. Rector of the University of Namur (Belgium). Professor at the Faculty of Law at the University of Namur (UNamur) and Liège (Ulg).
A new Privacy age: towards a citizen’s empowerment: New issues and new challenges
Changes in the technological landscape
Characteristics of the new information systems, between Tera and Nano. More ability to store speech, data, images. Increasing capacity as regards the transmission. Increasing capacity as regards the processing. increasing capacity as regards the storage capacity. On the other end, multiplication of terminal devices which are now ubiquitous (GPS, RFID, mobiles, human implants…).
New applications. New ways to collect data, especially through web 2.0 platforms (social networking sites, online services…) and ambient intelligence (RFID, bodies’ implants…). And new ways of data storage, such as cloud computing.
We have to acknowledge that we increasingly have less control and even ownership of our own data, which “live in the cloud”. And, indeed, neither we know where data is, in what territory, and which laws affect them.
New methods of data processing. Profiling, a method using three steps: data warehouse, data mining, profiling of individuals. Neuroelectronics, which is the possibility to modify the functioning of our brain (through body implants and brain computer interfaces, e.g. to stimulate the memory function or to reduce stress). Affective computing, on how to interpret feelings (e.g. facial movements) and to adapt the environment or to take decisions on the basis of that interpretation.
New actors. Stantardisation of terminals of communication, protocols, led by private organizations (IETF, W3C) and not by public/international ones. New emerging actors, such as the terminals’ producers, which lack regulation upon their behaviour, without “technology control”. New gatekeepers. Blurring of borders and, with them, blurring of states’ sovereignty.
The legal answer: privacy or/and data protection
Initially, privacy was understood as a right to opacity, the right to be left alone. Progressively data protection as a new constitutional right besides privacy, a way of re-establishing a certain equilibrium between the informational powers, a right to self determination, to control the flows of one’s informational image.
- Legitimacy of the processing.
- Right to a transparent processing for the data subject.
- Data protection authority (a new actor) as a balance keeper.
There is a trend of understanding privacy with the negative approach without reference to the large ‘privacy’ concept. We need to reassess the value of data protection today. We need to accurately manage the delicate balance between the need for intermitent retreat from others and the need for interaction and cooperation with others (cf. Arendt), now that there is a pervasive Lacanian “extimacy” due to social networking sites.
New privacy risks:
- Opacity, and the risks of anticipatory conformism.
- Decontextualization, data collected in one context might be used in another context.
- Reductionism, from individual to her data and finally to her profile by using data related to other people.
- Increasing assymmetry, between the informational powers of, from one part, the data subject and, from the other part, the data controller.
- Towards a suveillance society.
- Abolition of some rights.
The human facing ICTs: a man traced and surveyed, a man “without masks”, a reduced man, a man normalized. Where it is question of dignity, of individual self-determination, of social justice and… definitively democracy. Privacy — which is much more than data protection — should be seen as self-development.
New rights of the data subject: right to be forgotten, right to data portability.
10th Internet, Law and Politics Conference (2014)