DECODE project hands the power of data back to the people

by Victoria Thomason

01 Jun 2017

by Pamela Cook


I noticed an article on Public Technology last week about the new European DECODE project. This project utilises blockchain tools to give people control and ownership over their own online data. The aim of the project is to get people more involved in the data that is held about them and to change the general attitudes towards data sharing. It is currently being piloted in Amsterdam and Barcelona.

This is a terrific initiative using innovative and up-to-the-minute ledger technology to empower citizens to manage their own online data. People can decide for themselves whether to keep their data private or share it for the improvement of public services. The planned transparency will foster a better and more trusting relationship between those sharing their data and those who are using it. Whilst this is great, a data quality filter built into the technology and the option for people to challenge or report incorrect data is also critical to ensure accuracy of the datasets and I would be interested to see how they are addressing the issue of data quality within this project.

In my opinion, one of the most important distinctions in this project though is that they will be transferring the control and ownership of citizens’ data from some of the largest players directly back into the hands of the people. Moving forwards, active consent for data sharing is becoming more prevalent and projects that improve the transparency of how data is used when shared can go a long way to promoting public trust and engagement in such initiatives.

This project is due for completion by December 2019; I for one will look forward to watching how it progresses and eagerly await the results.