A World Café on Data Protection

During the WeNet project meeting in Barcelona on October 2-4 2019, WeNet project’s partners discussed data protection in a “World Café“. Building on the idea that the most important conversations at conferences happen during the coffee breaks, the “World Café”method provides an informal environment for a structured conversational process inspired by the talks people have in street cafés.

WeNet has launched its own Data Protection Forum in August. The Forum wants to identify problems, facilitate mutual advice-giving, and homogenize problem-solving. It will also help to develop new and innovative concepts and methods for interdisciplinary integrated research.

The Forum gives WeNet-researchers a platform for intensive and substantive exchange on questions of privacy and data protection. It consists of an online tool and a series of workshops. The online tool is a platform where researchers can collect questions and problems that arise during their work in WeNet and discuss possible solutions. The series of workshops employs various conversational methods from civic education, civic involvement, and civic participation as well as workshops with invited experts.

In Barcelona, WeNet partners discussed various ethical questions with regard to data protection. The focus of the discussion laid on data collection, data processing, data storage, data control as well as the somewhat broader topics of trust and trustworthiness. There was also an “open table” where participants were invited to collect ethical question that they wanted to see addressed within the Data Protection Forum.

How can we help people to take control over their own data? And: How can we improve data literacy among the users of the envisioned WeNet platform? These are only some of the questions that we want to pursue further in the future. WeNet hereby goes beyond mere compliance with data protection laws but wants to actively promote privacy in technology design.

We are looking forward to the upcoming workshops and discussions.

Article by Dr. Karoline Reinhardt, Researcher at International Center for Ethics in the Sciences and Humanities (IZEW) at Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen.

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