Although data systems are rapidly rolled out in the public sector and state-citizen relations become increasingly automated, there is little public knowledge about these developments, with few possibilities to intervene into, and participate in, decisions about the use of data systems. How, then, do we advance people’s voice in the deployment of data and AI? How do we democratise datafied governance?
Our new report Civic Participation in the Datafied Society explores different ways in which citizens are – and can be – involved in these decisions which are fundamentally transforming societies. We have investigated the roles of citizen juries and citizen summits, oversight and advisory institutions, civil society campaigns, alternative discourses and infrastructures, and efforts to advance data literacy.
The report provides a comprehensive set of findings from a 3-year research project – Towards Democratic Auditing: Civic Participation in the Scoring Society – which was funded by the Open Society Foundations and involved a wide range of interviews with experts and practitioners, observations of relevant practices, and fact-finding workshops.
While there is a lack of institutional procedures for meaningful participation, we found many promising practices and proposals that establish a more central role for citizens in decisionmaking over data. Our research shows that the democratisation of datafied governance is a key challenge for contemporary societies.
Download the report here (pdf).
Together with the report, the Data Justice Lab also launches a new website – https://www.datafiedsociety.org/ – which summarises core arguments of the report.