DECODE (DEcentralised Citizen-owned Data Ecosystems) is an experimental project to enable practical alternatives to how we manage our personal data and interact on the internet. DECODE will develop technology that puts people in control of their personal data, giving them the ability to decide how it is shared. The technology will include an architecture for controlled and, if desired, anonymised data sharing, paving the way for the creation of a ‘data commons’.

DECODE will test this technology in four pilots, to be held in Amsterdam and Barcelona, between 2017 and 2019. The pilots will trial the technology and demonstrate the wider social value that comes with individuals being given control of their personal data the means to share it differently.

Through these pilots DECODE will explore how to build a data-centric digital economy where data that is generated and gathered by citizens, the Internet of Things (IoT), and sensor networks is available for broader communal use, with appropriate privacy protections. As a result, innovators, startups, NGOs, SMEs, co-operatives, and local communities can take advantage of that data to build apps and services that respond to their needs and those of the wider community. In this vision, cities can have a strong role, as custodians of these new digital rights of citizens.

The four DECODE pilots have been chosen as follows:


Barcelona Pilots

iDigital / BCNow Platform pilot. This pilot partner with Barcelona City Council and the city’s digital democracy platform Decidim.Barcelona, to allow citizen-generated data to be aggregated and blended from a range of different sources, including noise levels from individual sensors, healthcare data, and administrative open data. This will be displayed in a BCNow dashboard, and will give citizens the option to control the use of that information for specific purposes, including to inform policy proposals. It will also provide anonymous verification capabilities (such as when creating and signing local petitions) to minimise the sharing of sensitive of personally identifiable data with the city council.

#MakingSense Internet of Things pilot. Residents will be given noise sensors that are placed in the neighbourhood. DECODE will provide sessions to train and support participants to help them setup and use the  sensors to gather and analyse data to influence city-level decisions. The pilot tackles the technical challenges of collating and storing a stream of citizen-sensed data, while also enabling those citizens to control what information is shared. It builds on a local project, Making Sense, which was established in 2016 and has been co-funded by the European Commision.

For any further questions, or if you want to get involved in the Barcelona pilots, contact Pau Balcells on pbalcells@bcn.cat

Amsterdam Pilots 

Holiday rental register pilot. This responds to sharing economy platforms such as Airbnb which have caused disruption in cities such as Amsterdam by pushing up the the price of rents, while legal rules around privacy have prevented effective sharing of occupancy data about hosts who break local legislation. The pilot involves collaboration with the Amsterdam Municipality and the FairBnB platform — which was started to provide a more sustainable solution for short-let accommodation, and reinvests profits back into local initiatives. DECODE will provide statistics and regulatory information to enable the community to govern the platform without compromising participants’ privacy.

Gebiedonline (Neighbourhood Online) pilot. Gebiedonline is a pre-existing co-operative digital platform that enables local people, groups and organisations to view events taking place in their neighbourhood, share news, exchange and borrow products and services, and to meet people. Amsterdam City Council is keen to spread this to other locations across the city and leverage the platform to increase involvement with policy and decision-making. It provides an opportunity for DECODE to test a more privacy-preserving local social network, with granular controls so that residents can decide what information they share.

For any further questions, or if you want to get involved in the Amsterdam pilots, contact Job Spierings on job@waag.org