Dialogues on data, policy and civic life

Next Tues­day a few of us at Microsoft Research are host­ing a day-long dia­logue to dis­cuss the inter­min­glings of data and social/civic life. We’re bring­ing togeth­er a mix of social the­o­rists, com­men­ta­tors and pol­i­cy advis­ers with the hope of draw­ing out pos­si­bil­i­ties for doing pol­i­cy mak­ing (as well as tech­nol­o­gy design) dif­fer­ent­ly. Our pre­am­ble for the event fol­lows (a print­able PDF can be down­loaded here): (more…)

Announcing Tenison Road launch

Final­ly post­ed some fly­ers to announce the launch of the big data project we’ll run for a year. We hope to work with the res­i­dents and pro­pri­etors on Teni­son Road in Cam­bridge to bet­ter under­stand how big data mat­ters and what peo­ple on the street want it to be. This is a project that is aim­ing to get at the inter­min­glings of data and local­i­ty, and to inter­vene in the entan­gle­ments in pro­duc­tive ways. That’s the hope! … Fin­gers crossed.

Changes to FoI Act

Some sig­nif­i­cant changes to the UK’s Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion Act were enact­ed yes­ter­day that give peo­ple to right to request and, crit­i­cal­ly, reuse data. It’s prob­a­bly easy to over­look the impli­ca­tions of this. The way I see it, every­one (includ­ing com­mer­cial bod­ies) now have the right to access FoI reg­u­lat­ed data and (re-)use it for analy­sis, ana­lyt­ics, build­ing apps, etc. Whether that’s good or bad, it seems pret­ty pro­found to me. See a sum­ma­ry of the changes here on the Infor­ma­tion Com­mis­sion­er’s Office blog.