Data Stewardship Principles

I attended a workshop hosted by the Digital Equity Lab where we discussed data stewardship. We used three sets of sample principles to generate group discussions. I think these can serve as a very helpful launching point for organizations seeking to develop their own specific principles.

The Detroit Digital Justice Coalition and Detroit Community Technology Project’s Guidelines for Equitable Open Data

  • Protect the people represented by the numbers.
  • Don’t retain personal information ties to accessing government services.
  • Publish data about government processes, even for “public” vendors.
  • Prioritize the release of new datasets based on community interest.
  • Increase transparency around how datasets are defined and processed.
  • Engage residents offline about open data.
  • Share what’s coming next.

James Felton Keith’s proposed Data Bill of Rights

  • The Right to Data Erasure: or to be forgotten;
  • The Right to Data Portability: or to move either originals or copies;
  • The Right to Data Restrictive Processing: or decide how analytics are leveraged;
  • The Right to Data Education: or acquiring knowledge and skills needed to make decisions;
  • The Right to Data Redress: or receive a fair settlement of just claims against processors;
  • The Right to Data Ownership: or possession of property, regardless of the processors;

Best Practices to Secure Health Care Data

  • Protect the network;
  • Educate staff members (and volunteers);
  • Encrypt portable devices;
  • Secure wireless networks;
  • Implement physical security controls;
  • Write a mobile device policy;
  • Delete unnecessary data;
  • Vet third parties’ security; and
  • Have a data breach response plan

Public Spaces and People Power

photo of an acequia

An acequia, a community-owned irrigation canal typical of New Mexico. Photo credit.

I believe it is important that we collectively defend, celebrate, and expand the notion of the Commons. I was also struck by some ideas from an article on The Conversation, When the town square is online, power lies with the people.

In modern democracy, public spaces […] play a constant and fundamental democratic role if they are used correctly — not to stimulate bias, echo-chambers, […] but to allow users […] to freely, and on informed basis, deliberate, decide and act.

We can practice politics, organizing, communications, research, etc… (things that are in the public sphere) in such a way that feeds a biased echo-chamber, or we can strive to create something that empowers users to effect change. I am thinking of participatory research, tutorials, as well as how organizing materials like fact sheets have “an ask.”

Upper-crust and famous figures, homeless people, religious minorities, the elderly, school teachers, white-collar workers, account managers and students all have a right to a place in democratic consciousness. If we are not all represented, then we have removed the basic prerequisites for democratic debate — equality, freedom and mutual respect.

The common value of the public space is therefore a fundamental value for our democracy, […]

I love that. It is very Right to the City-ish. I am also reminded me of recent news stories where homeless people have been getting chased away by city governments. And, of course, net neutrality and the future of the internet is possibly the biggest public domain issue of the day.

Hello (again) world!

If things seem a bit empty here, there is a reason for it.

I recently decided to start this website over from scratch — sort of. After 6 years or so, this site was in dire need of an overhaul.

Some of my most popular tutorials — those related to websites, spreadsheets, or money-in-politics — will be resurrected in the upcoming days.

The big difference in this site will be in how the content is organized. This space will be used to contain essays and opinions. Tutorials and portfolio pieces will be moved into separate websites altogether.

Who’s psyched?