Big Data: Challenges and Opportunities. Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Internet, Law & Politics

Notes from the 9th Internet, Law and Politics Congress: Big Data: Challenges and Opportunities, organized by the Open University of Catalonia, School of Law and Political Science, and held in Barcelona, Spain, on 25-26 June 2013. More notes on this event: idp2013.
Proceedings cover for Big Data: Challenges and Opportunities

The proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Internet, Law & Politics (IDP 2013): Challenges and Opportunities of Online Entertainment are already available for download.

Content, besides some minor editing, has followed the originals, so the reader will find articles both in Spanish or English.

To cite this work we suggest using any of the following references:

Balcells, J., Cerrillo i Martínez, A., Peguera, M., Peña-López, I., Pifarré de Moner, M.J., & Vilasau Solana, M. (coords.) (2012). Big Data. Retos y Oportunidades. Actas del IX Congreso Internacional, Internet, Derecho y Política. Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Barcelona 25-26 Junio, 2013. Barcelona: UOC-Huygens Editorial.

Balcells, J., Cerrillo i Martínez, A., Peguera, M., Peña-López, I., Pifarré de Moner, M.J., & Vilasau Solana, M. (coords.) (2012). Big Data. Challenges and Opportunities. Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Internet, Law & Politics. Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Barcelona 25-26 June, 2012. Barcelona: UOC-Huygens Editorial.

9th Internet, Law and Politics Conference (2013)

IDP2013 (X): Privacy (II)

Notes from the 9th Internet, Law and Politics Congress: Big Data: Challenges and Opportunities, organized by the Open University of Catalonia, School of Law and Political Science, and held in Barcelona, Spain, on 25-26 June 2013. More notes on this event: idp2013.

Moderadora: Mònica Vilasau. Lecturer, School of Law and Political Science (UOC).

The use of Big Data to generate behaviours
Ramon Miralles, Coordinator of Auditing and Security of Information. Catalan Data Protection Authority

Service providers are often accused of lack of clear information, lack of specific usage of the data they are collecting, etc. Besides — or added to — this lack of clarity, data is increasingly becoming a source of wealth, and thus leads to changes of relationships of power and new behaviours.

A detailed analysis of big data, can it induce to changes in behaviour? e.g. the Obama team found that women aged 35-50 y.o. usually had many photos of George Clooney on Facebook. After realizing that, there was a sensible increase of the number of public appearances of Barack Obama besides George Clooney and the number of photos that they shared… and which of course were distributed on social networking sites.

But are there behaviours which there is a consensus that they are bad (xenophobia, racism) and which could/should be fought with the use of big data? Is there still room for free will? Should we change our regulatory framework to adapt it to these new realities/policies? Would it be, on the other hand, fair or legitimate?

Or maybe the terms of use could include new clauses (premium clauses?) in which the service provider would inform the user of the usage of their personal data?

Automated Journalism: Artificial Intelligence Transforms Data into Stories — When data protection principles and privacy protect the right to express opinions freely and to receive accurate information
Cédric Goblet. Lawyer at the Brussels Bar

Can a robot replace a journalist? Narrative Science’s Quill is able to write human-readable articles or pieces of news after a collection of specific data. A robot implies loss of all editorial autonomy, no verification of the sources, lack of analysis of the information with a critical eye and independence, or the mistaken belief that a machine will be neutral and objective. It is very likely that machine-made pieces of news will result in a tendency towards infotainment and fostering an echo chamber effect.

Big Data: A Challenge for Data Protection
Philipp E. Fischer, Ph.D. candidate (IN3 Research Institute, UOC Barcelona), LL.M. in intellectual property law (Queen Mary University of London / TU Dresden); Ricardo Morte Ferrer, Lawyer (Abogado), Master of Laws (UOC). Tutor for law studies (Grado en Derecho) at the UOC. Legal adviser for the TClouds Project at the ULD, Kiel

One of the main challenges in data protection is the high asymmetries in the relationships of power between service providers and end users: there may be no alternative to that service, there may be not all the information in the terms of service, there may even not be the whole information in these terms of service, etc.

The right to data protection in the public administration
Rosa Cernada Badía, Investigadora de la Universidad de Valencia

In the administration of Justice, communications usually publish data from the citizens. Before a law of public information reutilization and another law protecting personal data, it is obvious that a conflict arises.

But not only a technical or legal solution is needed, but also a political commitment that settles interoperability, responsibilities, allocation of resources to manage information and data, etc.

9th Internet, Law and Politics Conference (2013)

IDP2013 (IX): Privacy (I)

Notes from the 9th Internet, Law and Politics Congress: Big Data: Challenges and Opportunities, organized by the Open University of Catalonia, School of Law and Political Science, and held in Barcelona, Spain, on 25-26 June 2013. More notes on this event: idp2013.

ModeratorMaria Àngels Barbarà i Fondevila. Director, Catalan Data Protection Authority

Internet social networks, non-contractual liability for infringements of data protection rights by the data controller and International Private Law
Alfonso Ortega Giménez, Profesor de Derecho internacional privado de la Universidad Miguel Hernández de Elche (Alicante)

The dramatic growth of participation in social networking sites can be approached from the international private law.

Users normally accept all the terms of conditions of social networking sites. But what law is to be applied? It depends. In these terms it is normally stated what law and what jurisdiction is to be applied. Thus, the user is not protected by the law as there is a high degree of defencelessness as they have to deal with “foreign” laws most of the times.

Big Data and Social Control In The Perspective Of Proposed EU Reform On Data Protection
Alessandro Mantelero, Polytechnic University of Turin; Giuseppe Vaciago, University of Insubria.

There is an asymmetric distribution of the control over information. Interaction between the private and the public sector is mediated by these data and this imbalance of power.

There is a political and strategical value of the European regulation on data protection, as there is a predominance of US companies in the ICT sector, which implies an influence of the US administration on national companies.

Indeed, is not only about jurisdiction in terms of what law applies, but also the fact that most data of European citizens are stored overseas (usually in the US).

An added political/strategic/security issue, then, is that the US Administration can require the firms in US soil (e.g. most of all in cloud services) to access all the data in their silos.

Data portability reduces the risk of lock in as it allows for transferring data from one place to another. In this sense, it also reduces monopolistic practices, reduces the power of the service provider and eases establishing more balanced regulation.

E-Health in the Age of Big Data: The EU Proposed Regulation on Health Data Protection
Panagiotis Kitsos, LLM, PhD. IT Law Team, Dept. of Applied Informatics. University of Macedonia, Researcher; Aikaterini Yannoukakou, Librarian MSc. IT Law Team, Dept. of Applied Informatics. University of Macedonia, PhD candidate

What are the challenges that big data poses in the field of e-Health? Many uses so far: drug data extracted from prescription records, devide data collected from implantable cardiac devices, clinical data collected form medical records and medical images, claims and financial data, patient behaviour and sentiment data, etc. All these are already transforming healthcare.

But there are many privacy concerns, most of the related to the possibility to “re-identify” patients even if their respective data has been anonymised.

Another concern is the right to be forgotten in relationship with health records.

Maybe we have to move from what to protect to how to protect.

Discussion

Barbarà: is consent enough to protect the citizen? Is it informed enough to count as valid?

Ricardo Morte: if there are issues with jurisdiction, it is very likely that the citizen cannot appeal to the Constitutional Court. Is that this way? Is there any “equivalent” at the international/European level? Ortega: the problem comes not in what falls within the framework of the (commercial) agreement, which is quite well contemplated by the current regulation, but in what falls outside of the framework of the agreement, in what is extra-contractual.

9th Internet, Law and Politics Conference (2013)

IDP2013 (VIII): Social Movements

Notes from the 9th Internet, Law and Politics Congress: Big Data: Challenges and Opportunities, organized by the Open University of Catalonia, School of Law and Political Science, and held in Barcelona, Spain, on 25-26 June 2013. More notes on this event: idp2013.

Moderator: Rosa Borge. Lecturer, School of Law and Political Science (UOC).

Invited speaker: Techno-politics and 15M. Models, data, hypothesis and analysis of political action in the network society
Javier Toret, Researcher and activist. Author of Tecnopolítica: la potencia de las multitudes conectadas. El sistema red 15M, un nuevo paradigma de la política distribuida.

This research has a different approach from the usual one: there is no theory that aims at being validated by data, but lots of data, an event, that is being analysed to see whether a theory or an explanation can be inferred.

Hacking + activism + netstrike = hacktivism. Technopolitics.

The crisis is a necessary but not sufficient condition for the movement to take place. The narrative and the previous experiences on the net, the evolution of memes (memethics) and campaigns, etc. are very important to set up the movements. In this sense, there is a “migration” of hashtags across several movements. On the other hand, most of the people that participated were already users of social networking sites. And not only social networking sites, but social movements in general: there is a powerful online-offline hybridization of participation.

Technopolitics is not cyberactivism, because it also happens outside of the net; and it is not slacktivism, because there is much more than just uncommitted online politics.

Multilayer approach: the physical layer, the media layer, the technological layer, etc.

Technopolitics is becoming a pattern, and an important one, all over the world’s politics.

Again, there is a high correlation between the online and the offline world, between Facebook groups and local (physical/offline) groups.

A technologically structured contagion took place during the indignados movement. How does this contagion happens? Emotions play a major role, are central in the movement.

Emotions, vocabulary, etc. are really synced during the movement, especially during offline events (and their replica online).

It is important to note the different organizational structures between parties — hierarchic, isolated — and the movement — decentralized, networked.

Spanish Indignados and the evolution of 15M: towards networked para-institutions
Ismael Peña-López, Professor at the School of Law and Political Science of the Open University of Catalonia; Mariluz Congosto, Researcher at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid; Pablo Aragón, Researcher at Barcelona Media Foundation

The study of social mobilization in the age of Big Data
Jorge L Salcedo M, Investigador Grupo Democracia Elecciones y Ciudadanía UAB, Consultor Universitat Oberta de Catalunya; Camilo Cristancho, Investigador Grupo Democracia Elecciones y Ciudadanía, Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona

Central question in social science research: behaviour, communication, information dynamics. And methodological challenges: influence networks, actor attributes and roles, context and case studies.

What are the consequences of social media use on mobilization and diffusion? What are the bridges and commonalities between computer and social sciences?

The aim of the research is finding what is the state of the art of research in the field of mobilization and its relationship with social networking sites. A literature review for the period 2007-2013 was carried on.

Diffusion is based on the adoption of a practice or features through different channels. It depends on the message, the information dynamics, actors and the network structure. Some organizations play key roles in some mobilization processes, and specifically, the resources of these organizations. These resources can also be social capital, linkages and opportunities.

The relationship between actors, indeed, can tell us much about the probability that a movement can go on, can evolve, can grow.

Organizations are usually “sense makers”, they provide good explanations for what is happening in reality, they provide frames, scenarios, diagnosis, identify the main subjects. We know little, though, how the context changes, what are the group dynamics.

Concerning future research, we have to take into account the diffusion processes that involve information dynamics but also practices (tractics, strategies) and cultural norms. On the other hand, are we putting to much hope on Twitter or other social networking sites? We have also to analyze network linkages, formal structures vs. communication dynamics.

9th Internet, Law and Politics Conference (2013)

IDP2013 (VII): Duncan Watts: When does size matter? “Big data,” the Web, and social science

Notes from the 9th Internet, Law and Politics Congress: Big Data: Challenges and Opportunities, organized by the Open University of Catalonia, School of Law and Political Science, and held in Barcelona, Spain, on 25-26 June 2013. More notes on this event: idp2013.

Duncan Watts. Principal researcher at Microsoft Research and a founding member of the MSR-NYC lab.

Social phenomena arise when individuals interact to produce collective entities, when the collective begins to have a behaviour different from what was coded at the individual level: emergence. On the other hand, it is difficult to perform measurements both at the micro- and the macro- levels at the same time.

The Internet is not only changing society, but also changing the way we study society, just like the telescope did to observing the universe. The web has dramatically increased the scale, scope and granularity of data available to social scientists.

Example: music tastes

Why do so many TV shows, films, books, etc. fail? And why do some many TV shows, films, books that are very successful were initially rejected by “experts”?

It happens that our decisions are based on others’ (friends, family, etc.) decisions, and on a cumulative way: the more people like a movie, the more likely we will end up seeing it.

Evidence shows that inequality and unpredictability both increase in presence of social influence. Indeed, increased social influence yields increased inequality and unpredictability.

“Quality” still matters, on average, but lots of scatter over individual realizations (especially for high quality). So, social influence is more powerful than “quality”. Popular songs are more popular, but at the same time, which particular songs become the popular ones becomes harder to predict. The paradox of social influence is that individuals have more information on which to base choices, but the collective choice (i.e. what becomes popular) reveals less and less about individual preferences.

Example: Twitter

Twitter is ideally suited to study influencers.

But explanation and prediction are quite different things. If we look only at large cascades, will probably find patterns, hence will feel we have “explained” them. But there are many (the majority, actually) things that just did not went viral, just did not work, or just were not “meant to work”. It is very tempting to infer causality from “events”, but causality disappears once non-events are accounted for. Individual level predictions are unreliable, even given “perfect” information: instead of targeting the individual, who have to think stochastically, see the whole picture.

Two wrong assumptions:

  • there are influencers and non-influencers: everyone is, at some time, an influencer or is influenced by someone else.
  • this distinction is stable across time and context: we sometimes are influencers, we sometimes are influenced by others.

Viral vs. popular

There is a huge difference between “viral” and “popular”. It could be that popular things spread like viruses or spread because they were widely broadcasted.

Across all domains we find considerable diversity in structural virality among large events. Video, news and images are surprisingly similar, but petitions show evidence of being more “viral” relative to their size.

Surprisingly there is low correlation between size and virality. Knowing that something is popular tells you surprisingly little about how it went viral.

Discussion

Jorge Salcedo: cannot we make predictions base on some patterns that we actually find? Watts: you may not be making predictions on what is going to happen, but you may on the different probabilities of some things happening or not. So, not saying what is happening next, but what is the probability of this thing happening next. You can predict probabilities, you cannot predict actual events. Even if it is precisely that what we would like to predict.

9th Internet, Law and Politics Conference (2013)

IDP2013 (VI): Politics

Notes from the 9th Internet, Law and Politics Congress: Big Data: Challenges and Opportunities, organized by the Open University of Catalonia, School of Law and Political Science, and held in Barcelona, Spain, on 25-26 June 2013. More notes on this event: idp2013.

Moderator: Ana Sofía Cardenal. Lecturer, School of Law and Political Science (UOC).

Opening new windows: decision-making centralization and online interaction in CIU, ERC and PSC.
Marc Esteve Del Valle. Doctorando del Programa de Sociedad de la Información y el Conocimiento de la Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) – Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3); Rosa Borge Bravo. Profesora Agregada de Ciencia Política de la Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) – Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3)

What is the use of the Internet that parties do to “open” themselves and interact with the citizenry.

There are two approaches to ICTs and politics:

  • normalization: nothing is changing, parties will adopt ICTs for their traditional purposes, for their “politics as usual”. The citizenry nor adopts ICTs to participate more or whatever.
  • new mobilization: citizens can initiate their own campaigns thanks to several tools available online. These campaings, though, would be bound to parties, that is, it’s partisans that initiate campaigns to support parties. Networ party (Heidar & Saglie, 2003), cyberparty (Margetts, 2006), citizen initiate campaigns (Gibson, 2013), etc.

Reasons why parties would use ICTs: external context, inner characteristics of the party, position in the electoral market, contagion, etc.

H1: centralized and highly hierarchical parties have less interaction instruments in their websites (centralization index by K. Janda, 1980)
Data show that the three parties do not difer very much in centralization, and they do not difer either in matters of windows of interaction. Thus, evidence that centralization leads to more interaction is very weak.

H2: the degree of centralization does not seem to be related with the windows of interaction that PSC, CiU and ERC provide on their Facebook pages
Concerning the web 2.0, there neither are many differences. Indeed, the thesis of the contagion is very powerful, as there seems to be a pattern where a party initiates a certain activity and the rest copy it not long after.

Though parties showed different strategies and different levels of participation on Facebook, it cannot be stated that this was due to centralization differences. It is very likely, though, that is the state of political news or the political agenda that better shapes the strategies and interactions on Facebook.

To tweet or not to tweet? Social networking strategies in Catalan local governments
Joan Balcells, Lecturer, School of Law and Political Science (UOC); Albert Padró-Solanet, Lecturer, School of Law and Political Science (UOC); Iván Serrano, Researcher, IN3

How can be Twitter used in the context of e-Government? What are the factors of adoption of Twitter by local governments? How is Twitter used by local governments?

Logistic regression on the characteristics of the 947 municipalities in Catalonia was performed to tell the reasons for Twitter adoption. On the other hand, Twitter was mined to retrieve tweets by twitting municipalities and be able to tell the different usages of Twitter by them.

Problem: what (or which one) is the “official” Twitter account in a local government? The more representative one was chosen.

Assumption: if local governments are rationals, they will be on Twitter if the benefits are bigger than the costs of using Twitter.

Characteristics like size of the government, level of e-government, population, public employees expenditure per inhabitant, level of education of the municipality, socio-political mobilization or a change in government in the 2011 elections impact positively in probability of opening a Twitter account. The last issue, a change of party in office, is especially relevant, which stresses the point that in local governments leadership still plays an important role.

Concerning performance, measurements were tweets per week, RT per week, mentions, etc. Larger cities were the ones that performed better on Twitter.

A survey was addressed to Twitter managers asking what was Twitter for. There is major consensus on Twitter for informing citizens. But there is no consensus on interaction with citizens. Again, there is agreemen that Twitter is good for the local administration and for citizens, but there is some level of conflict when asked whether it is good or not for the public employee.

Accounts were grouped in three clusters according to the perception of conflict or not, and the use of Twitter for information or for engagement. And performance is related with perception: if one thinks Twitter is good, the account will do well.

A caveat is that having a Twitter account has consequences for the inner organization of the local government.

Casual Politics: From slacktivism to emergent movements and pattern recognition
Ismael Peña-López. Lecturer, School of Law and Political Science (UOC).

9th Internet, Law and Politics Conference (2013)


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About Me

    I am Ismael Peña-López.

    I am professor at the School of Law and Political Science of the Open University of Catalonia, and researcher at the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute and the eLearn Center of that university. During 2014 I am also the director of the Open Innovation project at Fundació Jaume Bofill.