ICT4D Blog http://ictlogy.net Information Society, Digital Divide, ICT4D Fri, 13 Nov 2015 16:00:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.3.1 CDF2015 (IV). Jonathan Gray: Open data http://ictlogy.net/20151113-cdf2015-iv-jonathan-gray-open-data/ http://ictlogy.net/20151113-cdf2015-iv-jonathan-gray-open-data/#comments
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Fri, 13 Nov 2015 16:00:58 +0000 http://ictlogy.net/?p=4368 Notes from the Connected Develoment Festival, organized by Partos, and held in The Hague, The Netherlands, on November 13, 2015.

Jonathan Gray, Open Knowledge Foundation

Why does data matter? Data is evidence for action, it’s about facts that support action.

Data is not sacred: data is partial and data is profane. Data is a by-product of former actions of many actors, especially institutions.

Data needs a critical literacy to understand it, to understand the hidden message. And it also needs data infrastructures as socio-technical systems.

Datasets are a mixture of different sources gathered for different purposes. But is data relevant? Is it collected for what we need? Is it useful?

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There’s another problem concerning data and it’s its excess: a fever to collect so much data that (a) then it becomes difficult to treat, at it is difficult to handle with current tools and (b) we begin to “throw data” to try and cover everything without making much sense of it.

Will here be a data revolution? Can we democratize access to data?

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There are many things that civil society can do to (a) change the way public institutions measure, (b) to become more responsive and creative in the way datasets are given life outside of the public sector.

Data infrastructures shape life and civil society.

This post originally published at ICT4D Blog as CDF2015 (IV). Jonathan Gray: Open data

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CDF2015 (III). Margot Bouwman: on the power of communication http://ictlogy.net/20151113-cdf2015-iii-margot-bouwman-on-the-power-of-communication/ http://ictlogy.net/20151113-cdf2015-iii-margot-bouwman-on-the-power-of-communication/#comments Causes for male impotence urologist solution for erectile dysfunction impotence natural dysfunction erectile prilosec kamagra Rabatte
Fri, 13 Nov 2015 10:27:33 +0000
http://ictlogy.net/?p=4366 Notes from the Connected Develoment Festival, organized by Partos, and held in The Hague, The Netherlands, on November 13, 2015.

Margot Bouwman

Communication works with single minded propositions, providing a conversation value, aiming at doing good, and trying to establish a relationship.

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People have to watch communication deploy before their eyes, and be aware of the nuances. Communication is crucial so that people understand and even end up loving what they are hearing.

Listening to people is crucial so that people remain interested in what you have to offer.

Dominance is just as important as relevance. And new always gets attention, and it’s a good way to work for dominance. Supernormal stimuli awake interest, but we have to be aware that sometimes they can be intimidating. Stimulation of instinct is very powerful, such powerful that it can even nullify our own will, or trigger it towards very directed targets.

The goal of some communication messages is going from image to icon, from what you see to the representation of what you aim to.

Summing up:

  • We are vain.
  • Make it complicated.
  • Relevance is as important as dominance.
  • Supernormal stimuli help with that.
  • Attract attention.
  • Drive awakening.
  • Use them ‘slightly out of context’.
  • Transform them into iconic design language.
  • Tool or weapon?

PS: my gratitude to Babah Tarawally for the translation tips! [original talk in Dutch].

This post originally published at ICT4D Blog as CDF2015 (III). Margot Bouwman: on the power of communication

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CDF2015 (II). Ismael Peña-López: The SDGs and the oversight of disregarding social revolutions http://ictlogy.net/20151113-cdf2015-ii-ismael-pena-lopez-the-sdgs-and-the-oversight-of-disregarding-social-revolutions/ http://ictlogy.net/20151113-cdf2015-ii-ismael-pena-lopez-the-sdgs-and-the-oversight-of-disregarding-social-revolutions/#comments Fri, 13 Nov 2015 09:58:54 +0000 http://ictlogy.net/?p=4365 Notes from the Connected Develoment Festival, organized by Partos, and held in The Hague, The Netherlands, on November 13, 2015.

Ismael Peña-López: The SDGs and the oversight of disregarding social revolutions

This presentation elaborates the short reflections stated in Emancipation and the failure of the Sustainable Development Goals under the approach of Open Social Innovation. Please refer to these articles for a clearer explanation of what is presented in the keynote.

[click here to enlarge]

This post originally published at ICT4D Blog as CDF2015 (II). Ismael Peña-López: The SDGs and the oversight of disregarding social revolutions

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CDF2015 (I). Babah Tarawally: On the refugee crisis http://ictlogy.net/20151113-cdf2015-i-babah-tarawally-on-the-refugee-crisis/ http://ictlogy.net/20151113-cdf2015-i-babah-tarawally-on-the-refugee-crisis/#comments Fri, 13 Nov 2015 09:21:08 +0000 http://ictlogy.net/?p=4364 Notes from the Connected Develoment Festival, organized by Partos, and held in The Hague, The Netherlands, on November 13, 2015.

Babah Tarawally

There is a difference between seeing and looking. When it comes to refugees, we should look, not only see. About seeing, the issue is how to help people to connect with the local community, to know the culture, to know the hidden and tacit things a community knows and does, so that their full potential can be realized.

Are we helping people? Yes. Are we empowering people? Maybe. Are people’s lives changing? That is the question. But not only the lives of the people we are “helping”, but everyone’s lives, including “ours”.

Both governments and NGOs have failed in making an impact in lesser developed countries, as the inflow of migrants demonstrates each and every day. We have to change global politics.

Development, innovation, is not only about copying and pasting practices around. It’s about giving hope.

This post originally published at ICT4D Blog as CDF2015 (I). Babah Tarawally: On the refugee crisis

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The community first: subverting the dynamics of putting technology in the classroom http://ictlogy.net/20151031-the-community-first-subverting-the-dynamics-of-putting-technology-in-the-classroom/ http://ictlogy.net/20151031-the-community-first-subverting-the-dynamics-of-putting-technology-in-the-classroom/#comments Sat, 31 Oct 2015 11:49:29 +0000 http://ictlogy.net/?p=4360 Image of man setting up a bunch of laptopsCourtesy of EdTech Stanford University School of Medicine

For the nth time, the OCDE, in its Students, Computers and Learning. Making the Connection report, warns us about how technology is not changing academic performance in schools… unless other variables are taken into account — that is for academic performance as it is (quantitatively) measured today: there are, of course, other outcomes, like digital literacy, e-inclusion and social inclusion in general for the student and the family which, to me, are oftentimes successfully met.

Put very shortly, the thing is that there is quite a lot of evidence that what has an impact on academic performance is changes in methodologies. If ICTs (laptops, tablets, smartphones, interative whiteboards, but also blogging, microblogging, social videos, social bookmarking, etc.) have an impact it usually comes indirectly by having an impact in teaching and learning methodologies.

Unluckily, most projects that aim at putting in the classroom (apologies for this imprecise, generic and especially misleading concept) have been focusing almost exclusively in putting hardware and software in the classroom (that is why the name, all in all, may not be misleading at all) and spend little time and budget to everything else around technology.

But, how does one design a project that has an impact on methodologies? Well, the usual answer is training. But training raises several questions and issues:

  • Who trains he trainers?
  • How does the trainer build upon experience?
  • How does the trainer build a reputation?
  • How does the trainer build a legitimacy?
  • How is this training sustainable?
  • How is this training replicable?
  • How is this training scalable?

I think what these questions have in common is a community.

Now, summing up, what educational technology projects usually have done is: they devote all the funds they have to buy technology or digital services, while their main asset, the community, usually remains unattended. Sooner or later, the project runs out of money and thus cannot go on. On the other hand, the asset upon which the project could rely is not put in motion and thus does not trigger the springs and levers that could create the necessary changes for the project to be laid on strong foundations. Yes, this is a cruel simplification, but it is not very far from a general truth: we lose our minds on technology and forget humans.

So, what could be one? It seems that just the opposite direction could be a good starter.

  1. Identify a community of interest, that is, find who the motivated people are and see how they are connected.
  2. Work to shift the community of interest into a community of practice, by making their members share what they do. This will require resources to make sharing easy, comfortable, worth it. Most resources, though, will not be aimed at technology (e.g. a social networking site or platform) but to engage people and build on trust and reputation. It’s called facilitating. And it mostly relies on humans too.
  3. Help the sharing of practices turn into knowledge sharing, so that the community becomes a community of learning: learning by doing, learning by sharing, learning by engaging, learning by dialoguing.
  4. Contribute to raise the tough questions: learning is more about asking rather than answering. With luck, a diagnosis will emerge: where are we, where do we want to go, what do we have, what do we have not.
  5. Some of the things we have not will be knowledge: bring some structured training in.
  6. Some of the things we have not will be technology: bring the technology in.
  7. And back to #1.

In my opinion, it is important to stress that points #5 and #6 are not exactly the same training and technology as in traditional educational technology projects. Firstly, because the decision of which training and which technology comes not from a top-down perspective, but from a bottom-up one. It’s the community who produced the diagnosis and, thus, it’s the community who proposed the solutions (either in training or in technology). Secondly, because the diagnosis did not only identified the gaps or shortages, but also the assets. It may well be, for instance, that the collective found out that most students already have laptops or tablets, and thus the funds can be addressed only to buy devices for those who do not have them and only for them. Or, maybe, that there are other community resources that can be put in motion to fill that gap in, such as libraries or telecentres. Or that some people know some things and willing to share them with others in some formal way (course, training session). Many other examples can be found related to technology or — and most relevantly — to training.

Another matter to be highlighted is that the concept of community (of interest, practice, learning) goes way beyond a sectoral understanding of the concept. When thought of from a top-down approach, the community is educators, teachers. When thought from a bottom-up approach, the definition of community is much wider. The good think about a wider sense of a community is that it will take into consideration all the assets available (inside and outside schools) and it will build a much more strong consensus while it is reached. And both — assets and consensus — are the cornerstones of sustainability, in whatever sense (economic, social…) one may take it.

This post originally published at ICT4D Blog as The community first: subverting the dynamics of putting technology in the classroom

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ICTlogy.net: 12th anniversary http://ictlogy.net/20151021-ictlogy-net-12th-anniversary/ http://ictlogy.net/20151021-ictlogy-net-12th-anniversary/#comments Wed, 21 Oct 2015 21:01:45 +0000 http://ictlogy.net/?p=4357 And one more year has passed. It’s October 21st, and it’s been 12 years since the journey of ICTlogy began. Happy anniversary, ICTlogy.

As usual, some data for starters:

And now, the usual comments.

The first one, my deep feeling that academia, as it is designed, is totally doomed. This is nothing new, but the feeling has grown deeper. Much deeper. And when I speak about academia I mean all of its main three functions: research, teaching and dissemination. Teaching and dissemination are, to say the least, inconvenient: they steal time to what the system only cares about, which is research. Thus, most debates about innovating in teaching and about making an impact in society are, in economic terms, irrational. All the time that faculty members devote to nothing but research is an irrational choice as it detracts time from the only thing that they will be given credit for. Hard to read? It’s even harder to cope with, mind you.

This would be only half a tragedy if research was handled in — my very personal opinion — rational terms. But it’s not. In most fields and places, research has ceased to be about building up new knowledge “upon the shoulders of others”. Now it’s about publishing. Whatever. Whatever with an impact index, of course. A technical report? Wrong. The analysis of some intervention project? Wrong. Some position paper or some white paper on some policy issue? Wrong. Some may say that everything can and should be published in impact journals, but it is wrong: academic journals, with all their waiting lists and politics inside, have their own logic, which is increasingly diverging from the pace of reality. Most people, when asked what they are working on, will answer they are working on a paper, not on a problem. And these are two different logics. Hard to read? It’s even harder to cope with, mind you.

For those thinking this is but a digressing rant, think about the problems you have in your everyday life. And see how much would you like some help from people that you, the taxpayer, pay to be thinking about solving problems. Yes, there are some relevant problems that are hidden to the common eye. But still. Ah, by the way, most publications by most scholars have to be paid twice for accessing them, because the system is double perverse: we push academia towards paper-publishing (not problem-solving) and, once their work is published, it’s behind a paywall. For someone a truly believer in the common good and the role of public sector, this is just enraging.

And, in this case, Twitter is not helping very much.

Don’t get me wrong: I think Twitter is actually transforming the world, and doing it for good. But, as it’s usually said in the world of communications, it is a strong competitor in the attention economy, and it’s capturing most attention away from the “long reads”. Indeed, it’s not only capturing attention away from readers, but also from writers: why would you write a 500-word reflection on a given topic or news when you can put it out in 140 characters? This has been happening to me since I joined Twitter in 2007, but I think this year I somehow peaked in this practice.

And if your life became more hectic than ever — kids, a more active role in politics, a strong participation in media — Twitter is just there to help you put out your thoughts in the easiest way. Though, of course, many times in the shallowest way.

Yes, this was not a good year for profound thoughts.

But don’t be mistaken. I believe my production in 2014 was quite good, and my production in 2015 will not be bad — there’s a book chapter, hopefully a couple of articles and some reports pending to add. But I just don’t like the way it all went. Even if I am happy with the outcome. Contradictory? Of course.

This post originally published at ICT4D Blog as ICTlogy.net: 12th anniversary

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Detaching learning from educational institutions http://ictlogy.net/20150930-detaching-learning-from-educational-institutions/ http://ictlogy.net/20150930-detaching-learning-from-educational-institutions/#comments Wed, 30 Sep 2015 09:57:45 +0000 http://ictlogy.net/?p=4354 Man using a cutting torchVigilant guard exercise, courtesy of The National Guard.

We, educators, keep on reciting the mantra that we should learn our whole lives. The paradigm of lifelong learning. But we keep on talking about education. That is, educational institutions. This is, to my point of view, a contradiction in its terms, to say the least.

Let us imagine a person that will be taking courses until she is 21. This is a usual age to get a regular three-year-long bachelor’s degree (approximately). Imagine that person will live 84 years. Under a lifelong learning paradigm, that person will keep on learning after leaving college. Indeed, that person will spend 75% of her life learning outside of the educational system.


Despite the fact that we acknowledge that most people will spend most of their lifetimes outside of the educational system — away from schools, high schools, colleges, universities and other educational centres — we keep on saying that we need to transform schools, high schools, colleges, universities and other educational centres.

I am sure we have to transform them, but I am not that sure that we are making it in the direction that is most needed: towards the world or informal learning. I believe that educational centres will only have a purpose if they can still provide support to those learners that are not within their walls.

In other words, we have to prepare learners to be autonomous once they leave the educational system. But autonomy means not isolation, but self-management, which is quite different. And it is different because self-management still relies on access to knowledge-intensive resources. Like educational institutions.

Thus, we have to prepare educational institutions for that time when most people will be mostly learning outside of educational institutions, but not without them: we need to open up educational institutions, blur the borders that separate formal from non-formal and informal learning. We need to get over the idea that learning (“quality learning”, “serious learning”) happens only within institutions. We have to detach learning — the action — from educational centres — the place.

If we understand by educational institution something more than just centres, we can identify several other educational institutions that definitely need and actually can be opened up, unfolded, disrupted, subverted:

  • The school: to get rid of time and space. Learning is not a place.
  • The classroom: to build learning communities, several ones, that let information in and out. Learning is not a cohort of people.
  • The textbook: to be up-to-date, to build together what is considered a resource. Learning is not written in stone.
  • The library: to enable more than one choice criterion. Learning is not passive.
  • The syllabus: to foster connections with the real world. Learning is not a black box in a white room.
  • The schedule: to make of any time a good time for learning. Learning is not a season.
  • The teacher: to bring in more voices to one’s own learning. Learning is not a social birthmark.
  • The assessment: to make of learning a two-way path. Learning is not perfect isolation.
  • The certification: to really focus on skills and competences. Learning is not a title.
  • The curriculum: to make of learning an environment. Learning should be self-determined (heutagogy).

I am utterly concerned about the role of educational institutions: I believe that soon they will have none. I am totally convinced that there is an urgency for learning institutions. And yes, we can (re)use educational institutions as learning ones. But their transformation needs being thorough, deep, radical. And it begins with detaching the content from its container, in the same way that when we talk about social work, we speak about interventions, not about social centres. We need to talk about the role from the institution and how, and when, and where, and by whom, and what is the best way to put that role in motion.

This post originally published at ICT4D Blog as Detaching learning from educational institutions

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Communication. Mapping agro-food consumption groups in the city of Barcelona http://ictlogy.net/20150819-communication-mapping-agro-food-consumption-groups-in-the-city-of-barcelona/ http://ictlogy.net/20150819-communication-mapping-agro-food-consumption-groups-in-the-city-of-barcelona/#comments Wed, 19 Aug 2015 16:00:37 +0000 http://ictlogy.net/?p=4351 Cover of Espelt, R., Peña-López, I., Losantos, P., Rodríguez, E., Martín, T. & Pons, F. (2015). “Mapping agro-food consumption groups in the city of Barcelona”

My colleague Ricard Espelt is these days at the XXVI European Society for Rural Sociology Congress, in Aberdeen, Scotland. The motto of this year’s edition of the congress is Places of possibility? Rural societies in a neoliberal world and this is just what Ricard is presenting on behalf of a small team he put up to analyse and map agro-food consumption groups in the city of Barcelona.

The communication he just presented, Mapping agro-food consumption groups in the city of Barcelona, is but a part of a major research project that Ricard is doing and that I have the luck to be a part of. Following can be found the abstract, slides and downloads of our communication, signed together by Ricard Espelt, Pere Losantos, Enrique Rodríguez, Toni Martín, Francesc Pons and myself. Mind that it is only a short paper and, thus, only a small part of the information produced is available. Comments (and/or requests) will definitely be welcome.


“Consumption groups” (or “consumption cooperatives”) is one of the types of short circuits of food consumption. They are organized to create an alternative to the dominant model, the agro-food big chain. Breaking the barriers between consumers and producers, this model of organization strengthens the possibility of stimulating social and economic local development.

In this article, we show how consumption groups take advantage of the traditional cooperative move-ment rooted in the XIXth century, and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in the context of Barcelona.

We analyse how the Social and Solidary Economy (SSE) measurement indicators are achieved by agro-food consumption groups, the nature of the networks made up by consumers and producers and the rele-vance of ICTs to maintain the business activity. Using geolocalized data and social network analysis we highlight the significance of local economical connec-tions among the actors involved.

Even though consumption groups stimulate local business and correlate with SSE indicators, they are not represented in the design of public policies. This article wants to draw a different point of view in the promotion of alternative food futures as emerging social and economic actors, and the public policies to promote them.



logo of PDF file
Short paper:
Espelt, R., Peña-López, I., Losantos, P., Rodríguez, E., Martín, T. & Pons, F. (2015). “Mapping agro-food consumption groups in the city of Barcelona”. In Places of possibility? Rural societies in a neoliberal world. Proceedings of the XXVI ESRS Congress, Aberdeen, Scotland, 2015. Aberdeen: The James Hutton Institute

logo of PPTX file
Espelt, R., Peña-López, I., Losantos, P., Rodríguez, E., Martín, T. & Pons, F. (2015). “Mapping agro-food consumption groups in the city of Barcelona”. In Places of possibility? Rural societies in a neoliberal world. Proceedings of the XXVI ESRS Congress, Aberdeen, Scotland, 2015. Aberdeen: The James Hutton Institute

This post originally published at ICT4D Blog as Communication. Mapping agro-food consumption groups in the city of Barcelona

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Emancipation and the failure of the Sustainable Development Goals http://ictlogy.net/20150805-emancipation-and-the-failure-of-the-sustainable-development-goals/ http://ictlogy.net/20150805-emancipation-and-the-failure-of-the-sustainable-development-goals/#comments Wed, 05 Aug 2015 19:40:37 +0000 http://ictlogy.net/?p=4346 Cover of the Open Working Group Proposal for Sustainable Development Goals

Tim Unwin has written a terrific critical article on the Sustainable Development Goals (PDF) entitled ICTs and the failure of the Sustainable Development Goals. As can be inferred from its title, the main criticism — which I fully share — is about the almost total oblivion in what relates to Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), and some other issues concerning the design itself of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), how poverty is defined (and how development and the Economy are defined too), how the United Nations System works.

I want to borrow Tim Unwin’s title to go a little bit further on his analysis. In my opinion, the problem is not (only) a total disdain for ICTs and all their potential in enabling, articulating, fostering or multiplying any other initiative against poverty or for sustainable development. The problem, I believe, is that this disdain for ICTs is just a symptom of the real, direst problem: a total disdain for emancipation.

There is only one goal out of 17 that deals, in general, about peace, freedom, rights and the government:

Goal 16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

When one drills down to the 12 targets and sub-goals, some of them are clearly what one would expect to see under the general goal. Some of them are mixed. And some others make one rethink about the previous ones. Indeed, an accurate reading of Goal 16 and its 12 targets and sub-goals raises a shadow of suspicion: is it about people that Goal 16 is talking about, or is it talking about maintaining things in order so that everything (the economy, trade) runs smoothly?


  • Sub-goal 16.a reads Strengthen relevant national institutions […] to prevent violence and combat terrorism and crime. That is, strengthening institutions is not a matter of peace, equality, progress… but to combat terrorism, which is what richest countries care about: their own safetey.
  • Sub-goal 16.b reads Promote and enforce non-discriminatory laws and policies for sustainable development. That is, the problem with discrimination is… development. Sustainable development. It is true: it is known that inequality damages economic growth. But one would expect that the direct goal would be inequality itself, and that the indirect one would be growth. Not the other way round.

After that, as it was said before, one becomes suspicious about some well phrased goals that, under a new paranoid light, can be read with different meanings. Such as target 16.3, which speaks of the rule of law: is it really to achieve justice for all, or is the rule of law good in itself at the national and international levels (which is were trade happens)?

Now, on a more serious note, I think there are at least three big omissions in the way the Sustainable Development Goals are stated that are compatible with a vision that

  1. The Sustainable Development Goals are especially about economic development, and not about individual and social development.
  2. The Sustainable Development Goals are especially about institutional development, and not about personal emancipation.

And these three issues that are omitted in the SDGs are, again in my opinion, closely related with the potential that ICTs can deploy if thoroughly applied. I’d dare say even more: if ICTs have any role in development, I believe that it is in the three following issues. It is not surprising, thus, that ICTs and our three issues are all missing in the 16 Sustainable Development Goals. Issues are:

  • Freedom, civil rights, citizen rights, political freedoms, freedom rights… many names for the very same concept. Freedom — or free — is mostly missing in the SDGs. It is only explicitly referred in target 16.10, and mixed up with public access to information… in accordance with national legislation. Well, according to Freedom House’s Freedom in the World 2015, 54% of the countries surveyed were partly free or not free… in accordance with their respective national legislations. Freedom is simply not a seriously taken issue in the SDGs.
  • Empowerment is a step beyond freedom. If freedom is about the lack of constraints to think or do one’s own will, empowerment is about strengthening the capability to think or do that will of one’s own. Not only can you do whatever you want within the system, but you will be helped to. Again, empowerment, or capabilities, are widely mentioned in the formalities of the declaration, but are limited to gender and inequalities. This is quite a bit, for sure, but it is not enough. There is no way that development can be sustainable if it is not endogenous, and there is no way for endogenous development without empowerment. In my opinion, empowerment is paramount to development. Only one step below governance.
  • Governance, democracy, political participation, deliberation, co-decision. If freedom is do one’s own will, and empowerment is doing it with multiplied strength, governance is way above that: it is not thought and action within the system, but over the system. Governance is shaping the system to one’s needs (or the collective needs, more appropriately), instead of shaping one-self to the system. This is why it is so important… and so surprisingly missing from the SDGs. Yes, decision-making is in there, but always as a way to have a certain influence on institutions. But no words on changing institutions, on transforming them, substituting them by other ones, or even getting rid of them.

And, as I see it, increased freedom, empowerment and governance are the biggest potential outcomes of ICTs for development. When Tim Unwin says he misses ICTs in the Sustainable Development Goals, not only I agree, but wonder whether the SDGs are also missing what I believe are the main reasons to apply ICTs for sustainable development, for instance: ICTs applied to Health increase one’s own degree of freedom; ICTs applied to Education improve one’s capabilities and empowerment to achieve higher goals; ICTs applied to Politics can lead to better governance.

I, for one, believe that people behind the writing and wording of the Sustainable Development Goals are neither stupid, nor ignorant. A thorough reading of the SDGs is inspiring and every statement is perfectly grounded on evidence.


It’s the approach. It’s industrial. It belongs, in my opinion, to the Industrial Age. It does not, I think, take into account the digital revolution and, more important, the many social revolutions that we have witnessed in recent years. And no, I am not (only) talking about the Arab Spring, or the 15M Spanish Indignados Movement. It’s about the revisiting of the commons and the digital commons; about free software and open educational resources and free hardware and open science and free knowledge; about e-government and open data and open government; about liquid democracy and hybrid democracy and e-participation; about personal learning environments and cMOOCs and communities of learning and communities of practice; about innovation hubs and co-working spaces and open innovation and social innovation and open social innovation; and peer-to-peer whatever and dis-intermediation wherever. Almost nothing about this is in the Sustainable Development Goals, which are to last current until 2030. We are not only ignoring the last 15 years of development, but making them last 15 years more. All in all, the Sustainable Development Goals do not seem to belong to the Information Age.

This post originally published at ICT4D Blog as Emancipation and the failure of the Sustainable Development Goals

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Rosa Borge. From protest to political parties: online deliberation in the new parties arising in Spain http://ictlogy.net/20150720-rosa-borge-from-protest-to-political-parties-online-deliberation-in-the-new-parties-arising-in-spain/ http://ictlogy.net/20150720-rosa-borge-from-protest-to-political-parties-online-deliberation-in-the-new-parties-arising-in-spain/#comments Mon, 20 Jul 2015 10:44:52 +0000 http://ictlogy.net/?p=4344 Notes from the research seminar From protest to political parties: online deliberation in the new parties arising in Spain by Rosa Borge, organized by the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute of the Open University of Catalonia, and held in Barcelona, Spain, on July 20th, 2015.

From protest to political parties: online deliberation in the new parties arising in Spain
Rosa Borge, Eduardo Santamarina

What are the deliberative practices of the two most important parties (Podemos and Barcelona en Comú) that emerged from the 15M Indignados movement in Spain? What trade-offs entail the process of transformation from social movements into political parties? To what extent participation and deliberation could be realized at the same time?

Podemos and Barcelona en comú were founded in 2014. Three months after its foundation, Podemos won 5 seats at the European Parliament, and less than a year after its foundation Barcelona en Comú won the mayoralty of Barcelona.

Internal organization:

  • Anyone can easily register online and participate in important decisions.
  • Open particpiatory spaces at the base of the party: assemblies, high degree of independence, etc.
  • Dominant position of the General Assembly or Plenary.
  • Specific consultation or referendum for important decisions: electoral programme, agreements with other parties, etc.
  • Participatory preparation of the electoral programme and organizational documents.
  • Channelling for individual proposals (Plaza Podemos).
  • Revocation of elected positions.

Developed a theoretical framework for measuring online deliberation, after Kies (2010) and Friess & Eilders (2014):

  • Institutional or structural dimension: technical and structural design of the online platform in order to build a deliberative space: inclusion, asynchronous communication, content visibility, moderation, identification rules, division of labour, relevant information, horizontal interaction, etc.
  • Communicative dimension: deliberative attitude of participants and how the communication process looks like, mainly with relation to the reaction of participants to each other’s ideas: discourse equality, reciprocity, justification, reflexivity, empathy, sincerity, plurality (inclusion).
  • The outcome dimension: results or impact of the deliberation that could be individual or collective (external impact): tolerance, knowledge, efficacy, compromise, preference shift, consensus, legitimacy, impact on political decisions or public debates.

The research analysed the two most voted debates held in the online platform known as Plaza Podemos and the online process of developing the municipal electoral programme of Barcelona en Comú. The three levels (institutional, communicative, outcome) were examined through the deliberative criteria: analysis of the design of the platform and content analysis of the threads of the debates.

Plaza Podemos run on an installation of Reddit; while Barcelona en Comú used DemocracyOS for the deliberation, plus Agora Voting to prioritise and vote the final proposals.

Main conclusions:

  • Both online processes were designed to be both participatory and deliberative spaces. This “procedural duality” seems to lean towards the voting side, becoming a kind of competitive space.
  • Tensions between openness and closeness (a typical tension of a party).
  • Extensive experimentation of new democratic processes: learning by doing.
  • Inducement of a “participatory literacy” among citizens.
  • These processes and the internal structure will be subjected to future changes.

The processes maybe were not optimal, but very much aiming at improving democratic processes.


Q: are there facilitators in the platforms? What is their role? Rosa Borge: yes, there are facilitators, which usually do not appear on the front row, and whose role is mainly technical.

Q: how can you assure that you are fulfilling anyone’s expectations? Rosa Borge: we do not know by sure, but the overall sense of the community is of high satisfaction with both the platforms and the results.

Ivan Serrano: after this research, how do we characterize Podemos or Barcelona en Comú? Are they deliberative parties? Aren’t they? Were do they stand between the extreme of being a traditional party and a fully deliberative one? How can they compare one with each other? Rosa Borge: it is difficult to say after our research, as only a few debates were analysed. But, there is enough evidence to say that these parties look different from other more traditional ones. And yes, there is a tension between pure Habermasian deliberation (which aims at consensus) and the need to participate within the constraints of electoral times. Indeed, the idea of consensus is highly criticised by some authors, and that is why it was not included as an indicator for deliberation: there seems not to be that important that there is an agreement at the end of the process (and just vote instead).

Q: how long does it take to become a regular party? Rosa Borge: Everyone is quite surprised with the political success of both Podemos and Barcelona en Comú. What is true is that an initial lack of structures or political organization allows movements to move faster than traditional parties. After that, there is a tension between being operational and being more participative, and the tension is solved with a pendulum movement approaching each side until a balance is reached.

Marc Esteve: what about the tension between consensus and voting? Rosa Borge: lately, the priority is to have a decision or a position after the process of participation and/or deliberation. Thus why in most platforms everything can be voted on the go. Yes, it adds a sort of competition unnatural in a deliberative process, but it also allows to have “something” at the end of the process, and to make the process a finite one, one that won’t last forever.

This post originally published at ICT4D Blog as Rosa Borge. From protest to political parties: online deliberation in the new parties arising in Spain

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IDP2015 (IX). Multidisciplinary debate on the challenges of smart cities http://ictlogy.net/20150703-idp2015-ix-multidisciplinary-debate-on-the-challenges-of-smart-cities/ http://ictlogy.net/20150703-idp2015-ix-multidisciplinary-debate-on-the-challenges-of-smart-cities/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 12:04:32 +0000 http://ictlogy.net/?p=4340 Notes from the 11th Internet, Law and Politics Congress: Regulating Smart Cities, organized by the Open University of Catalonia, School of Law and Political Science, and held in Barcelona, Spain, on 2-3 July 2015. More notes on this event: idp2015.

Multidisciplinary debate on the challenges of smart cities
Chairs: Marta Continente

Pilar Conesa. Founder and director of Anteverti.

Increasing concentration of people living in urban areas. Areas which are becoming totally saturated and ask for new ways or urban planning. This includes not only transportation, but also public services like education, healthcare, etc. The 19th century was a century of empires, the 20th century was a century of nation states, the 21st century will be a century of cities, Wellington E. Webb.

If we want to develop new cities, new smart cities, we need to know and share the approach behind. This is not trivial and it will determine the model of smart city that will be put into practice.

There is no smart city without a smart government.

Oriol Torruella. Director of the Legal Consultancy Department, CESICAT, Information Security Center of Catalonia

Smart city: improve the efficiency and efficacy of the management of the city, by means of an intensive usage of ICTs.

There are, though, some risks: the vulnerabilities of both software and hardware; the management of the citizen identity; treatment of personal data; affectation to the availability and security of critical infrastructures, etc.

It is crucial that citizens become smart citizens too if they are to be part of a smart city. They have to be aware of all risks of cibersecurity, what are the laws that apply to certain practices and activities, etc.

Ricard Faura. Head of Knowledge Society, Generalitat de Catalunya

The citizen in the smart city, sensor or actor? (Pisani, Datopolis o Particopolis?)

We have to foster some elements through ICTs: participation, organization and collaboration.

For the smart city to be useful for the citizens, one needs to empower the citizens themselves, so that they can be active and critical. But ICTs have to be empowering, not barriers.

Main duties of the government: diffusion, information, awareness raising, training.

The city has to be a real lab where everything is possible and everything can be analysed and improved, and especially fitting the particular needs of the different communities that one finds within the city or across cities.


José Luis Rubiés: Is there a risk of an illustrated despotism from the one that manages all these data? Who is the curator of the big data coming from smart cities? Ricard Faura: yes, this is a huge risk. Oriol Torruella: we are just at the dawn of smart cities and, as usually Humanity has done in the past, we work on a trial and error basis: we implement things, realize the risks, try to correct them, and on and on. Little by little we will learn to design better, to avoid risks before we implement, etc.

Q: can we extrapolate initiatives from one place to the other so that we do not have to reinvent the wheel? Marta Continente: yes and no. Yes, one can adapt what worked elsewhere. But the important thing is that ICTs, or whatever initiative on smart cities, are just a toolbox. And, as such, its application or usage will strongly depend on the realities found in each specific city.

This post originally published at ICT4D Blog as IDP2015 (IX). Multidisciplinary debate on the challenges of smart cities

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IDP2015 (VIII). Juan José Medina Ariza: Crime Mapping and the Smart City http://ictlogy.net/20150703-idp2015-viii-juan-jose-medina-ariza-crime-mapping-and-the-smart-city/ http://ictlogy.net/20150703-idp2015-viii-juan-jose-medina-ariza-crime-mapping-and-the-smart-city/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 10:49:10 +0000 http://ictlogy.net/?p=4339 Notes from the 11th Internet, Law and Politics Congress: Regulating Smart Cities, organized by the Open University of Catalonia, School of Law and Political Science, and held in Barcelona, Spain, on 2-3 July 2015. More notes on this event: idp2015.

Smart city, smart policing
Prof. Dr. Dr. Juan José Medina Ariza. Professor of Criminology (University of Manchester)

Security has traditionally been based on a top-down visions, a centralized control room.

Many municipalities have sort of “dashboards” that map the city crime, security issues, socio-economic indicators, etc.

These dashboards aim at locating clusters where more crime takes place, identifying the determinants or correlating factors of that crime, etc. After this clustering and correlations, one can create tools that can try to predict crime, based on trends and simulations. And once crime is “predicted”, then comes “predicted policing”, that aims at stopping crime just before it takes place, going to the place where crime is most likely to happen.

Problems when opening data: What happens when we open the data? How legitimate is its collection? How fair is its analysis?

The risks of Campbell’s law: the more one uses an indicator for decision-making purposes, the less it is useful for decision-making purposes, as it use imprints a bias into the indicator itself.

We know too that in some cases, there are biases in citizens reporting crime: many of them will not be eager to report crime, because this will diminish the value of their real state, because of own security reasons, etc.

What’s next? From predicting hotspots to individual predictions. A growing awareness about the problems with algorithms. Going back to measuring what matters. Privatised criminal justice is not science fiction any longer.

On the other hand, we will maybe see a rise in transparency in what relates to police practices, like stop and search.

There is a problem with profiling with big data, as in the one hand it is built upon evidence, but on the other hand it can strengthen biases, stigmas and prejudices.


E.J. Koops: does crime mapping represent reality or constitutes reality? Juan José Medina: this is definitely a problem with mapping that needs being addressed specifically in each and every case.

This post originally published at ICT4D Blog as IDP2015 (VIII). Juan José Medina Ariza: Crime Mapping and the Smart City

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IDP2015 (VII). E.J. Koops: Physical and Online Privacy: fundamental challenges for level frameworks to remain relevant http://ictlogy.net/20150703-idp2015-vii-e-j-koops-physical-and-online-privacy-fundamental-challenges-for-level-frameworks-to-remain-relevant/ http://ictlogy.net/20150703-idp2015-vii-e-j-koops-physical-and-online-privacy-fundamental-challenges-for-level-frameworks-to-remain-relevant/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 09:32:15 +0000 http://ictlogy.net/?p=4338 Notes from the 11th Internet, Law and Politics Congress: Regulating Smart Cities, organized by the Open University of Catalonia, School of Law and Political Science, and held in Barcelona, Spain, on 2-3 July 2015. More notes on this event: idp2015.

Physical and Online Privacy: fundamental challenges for level frameworks to remain relevant.
Prof. Dr. E.J. Koops. Professor of Regulation & Technology (Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society)

Is it legal, or should it be allowed to:

  • Scan homes with termal equipped drones in search of hemp domestic plantations?
  • Take a snapshot of a stranger, google them, recognize their faces, peek at their social networking profiles and start a conversation with them on their preferences?
  • Track people inside shops with wifi-tracking, analyze their movements in the shop and thus place advertising on the counter?

Conceptual history of locating privacy:

  • The body (habeas corpus): physical privacy.
  • The home: physical privacy + private space.
  • The letter: physical privacy + closed ‘space’ between homes.
  • The telephone: ‘closed’ ‘space’ between homes.
  • Mobile phone: ‘closed’ ‘space’.
  • The computer: protecting data, not spaces.
  • The cloud: loss of location.

The home evaporates. There is a lot of information that now one can access without entering a home. And, usually, looking inside without entry is allowed. Same happens now with technology and digital data. The public space is increasingly becoming privacy-sensible: increased traceability, increased identifiability (face recognition, augmented reality)…

And with the trend to improve body functions through implants and prosthesis, the body itself sort of becomes a “public space” as its data (including brain stimuli) can be exported out of the body.

It is increasingly difficult to draw the technical distinction between traffic data and content of communications, particularly on an Internet context. The distinction, indeed, is becoming less relevant, as traffic data are also increasingly privacy-sensitive (location, profiling).


  • Data protection law cannot give individuals control over their data.
  • Too much confidence in the controller/regulator: the law is becoming too complex.
  • Regulating everything in one statutory law: impossibility for comprehensiveness.

What is privacy?

  • The right to be let alone.
  • Controlling information about oneself.
  • Freedom from judgement of others.
  • Freedom from unreasonable constraints.
  • Depends on the context.

More information

This post originally published at ICT4D Blog as IDP2015 (VII). E.J. Koops: Physical and Online Privacy: fundamental challenges for level frameworks to remain relevant

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IDP2015 (VI). Smart cities II http://ictlogy.net/20150703-idp2015-vi-smart-cities-ii/ http://ictlogy.net/20150703-idp2015-vi-smart-cities-ii/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 08:04:14 +0000 http://ictlogy.net/?p=4337 Notes from the 11th Internet, Law and Politics Congress: Regulating Smart Cities, organized by the Open University of Catalonia, School of Law and Political Science, and held in Barcelona, Spain, on 2-3 July 2015. More notes on this event: idp2015.

Smart cities II
Chairs: Ismael Peña-López

DCCPP = PRIVACY BY DESIGN Direct Current Communications & Privacy Protocol (DCCPP) proposed for a privacy protective DC Smart Grid
E.M. Wesselingh, P. van Willigenburg, H. Stokman

A new system to manage appliances where privacy is built in by design.

This is a two layer DC smart-grid. The first layer is the home environment with many appliances that use DC electrical energy such as laptops and tablets, smartphones, TVs, LED lights. The second part of the proposed design covers the street-side of the electrical distribution grid. Separating these grids, a higher degree of safety and privacy is enabled.

De-mediation processes and their impact on legal ordering –Lessons l. earned from Uber conflict
Mariona Rosell-Llorens

Some norms regarding ICTs have proven to be ineffective (e.g. intellectual property rights), though some efficacy depends on acceptance. What makes a city smart is to profit from its community’s input. Seems like the grounds of law are disconnected fro current practices. The theory of the legal system is not receptive enough. Better laws need better legal theory.

De-mediation processes and Uber: de-mediation is related with autonomy. ICTs and appservices provide individuals a capacity ofr acting without interference of traditional intermediaries. Autonomy understood in the sense of empowerment, user participation, community building.

But then participants experience law. What happens when participants by-pass the formally enacted law? How participants experience legality thanks to ICTs?

We maybe need a better informed legal theory, based on social grounds. It is not a matter of legitimacy, but a better informed norm. We need more reasonable and sensible laws, “new” conceptual tools.

Barrio Digital [digital neighbourhood]: the way towards the digital city
Manuel Dávila Sguerra

The idea of the project was the creation of a smart city within the Minuto de Dios neighbourhood in Engativá (Bogotá). 1,200 students geolocated data from the neighbourhood. This enabled a next step consisting in adding the “social layer” to the map.

1,075 shoppers where characterized. The shoppers were trained by the students so that they learnt how to use certain devices and access to information.

Augmented reality was used to put services on the map, including cultural venues, so that the citizen could know what was around him, just by using their smartphone on the street.

Courses on digital literacy, especially for disabled people.

Bottom-up vision: the smartest cities are the ones that embrace openness, randomness and serendipity.


Ismael Peña-López: how do we tell the difference between adapting the law to fair practices and legalizing unfair behaviours? Mariona Rosell-Llorens: while we should keep safe some important principles, it is also true that society is increasingly complex and, thus, the traditional way of approving a law — mostly with a dominant top-down approach — is outdated and should be complemented with a higher observation (even concurrence) of what happens on the street, a more bottom-up approach.

This post originally published at ICT4D Blog as IDP2015 (VI). Smart cities II

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IDP2015 (V). E-government and transparency http://ictlogy.net/20150702-idp2015-v-e-government-and-transparency/ http://ictlogy.net/20150702-idp2015-v-e-government-and-transparency/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2015 15:52:54 +0000 http://ictlogy.net/?p=4336 Notes from the 11th Internet, Law and Politics Congress: Regulating Smart Cities, organized by the Open University of Catalonia, School of Law and Political Science, and held in Barcelona, Spain, on 2-3 July 2015. More notes on this event: idp2015.

E-government and transparency
Chairs: Agustí Cerrillo

And open and transparent government paradigm in middle Spanish municipalities: the case of Quart de Poblet
Joaquín Martín Cubas, Laura Juan y Juan Medina Cobo

The open government initiative was about creating a dialogue, between the citizen, the Administration and the political representatives.

The issue of the digital divide has been addressed with a digital literacy programme. A programme that, beyond just literacy, it was aimed at social inclusion.

Open government is transparency, but not just transparency: it is a new organizational model.

Participation in the new open government initiative was inspired by Irekia, the open government platform of the Basque government.

Transparency for the sake of transparency? Or to achieve an open government? An opportunity for innovation in the governance of the university
Gemma Geis Carreras, Annaïs Varo Barranco, Daniel Cantalosella Font

The application of the new Catalan Law on Transparency made the University of Girona decide that they would implement an open government initiative in the university.

The project includes not only knowledge diffusion and accountability, but also opening up platforms and channels for participation.

The new portal also features the electronic seat of the University of Girona, which includes electronic voting features.

Transparen cities, intelligent procurement. Analysis of the impact of ICTs in procurement transparency in municipalities
Jordi Romeu Granados, Gregorio Juárez Rodríguez, Carmen Pineda Nebot

Theoretical framework: public procurement, transparency in public procurement, smart cities.

Analysis of different municipalities and their use of public procurement. 22 indicators that build the ITCA index, including the profile of the public contractor, the ITA 2014 from Transparency International and what applies by the Spanish Transparency Law 19/2013.

Findings say that more transparency in procurement highly correlates with transparency in general, an aim for innovation and work towards a smart city paradigm, etc.


Q: what is the cost of such initiatives? Juan Medina: It depends. On the one hand, some infrastructures are expensive. But, on the other hand, changing the way the Administration works and, most especially, changing the attitudes of the public representatives is almost costless. And the impact may be much higher than putting up costly projects without change of attitudes.

Jordi Romeu: there is a problem in measuring open government and it is that measuring usually ends at the output level, and almost never reaches the outcome level.

This post originally published at ICT4D Blog as IDP2015 (V). E-government and transparency

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