Welfare data society? Critical evaluation of the possibilities of developing data infrastructure literacy from user data workshops to public service media.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Datafication is a social and political process that has mainly been led by powerful commercial interests leaving the citizens of datafied societies as mere bystanders. How could a datafied society become a welfare data society - a society that takes care of all citizens’ rights and wellbeing by providing them sufficient means to cope with a datafied everyday life? In this article, I claim that in a data society the rights and wellbeing of citizens are strengthened through education: by increasing the level of digital and data infrastructure literacy. While regulations such as the GDPR are much needed, it only becomes effective if citizens understand how to use the rights they grant them. Our workshops with users showed that on average, people are capable of forming a considered opinion on fair data-gathering practices. Furthermore, they were able to discuss and even develop new ideas based on how they would like data-gathering to be organised and regulated after being introduced to data collection in practice. Basic education in European countries has already made efforts to improve digital literacy, but education on digital literacy and especially data infrastructure literacy should also reach older generations. In this chapter, I propose that public service media should also play a significant role in strengthening citizenship through education in a datafied society as demonstrated by the Finnish public broadcasting company YLE who has already taken on that role. The results from our cooperation with YLE Learning show that public service media already possess inventive means through which different kinds of users can be reached. Still, more controlled cooperation is needed among different public institutions and European PSM to increase the general level of data infrastructure literacy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe ambivalences of Data Power
Subtitle of host publication New perspectives in critical data studies
EditorsAndreas Hepp, Juliane Jarke, Leif Kramp
PublisherPALGRAVE MACMILLAN
Number of pages21
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 2021
MoE publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book

Keywords

  • Datafication
  • Welfare state
  • welfare data society
  • data workshops
  • public service media

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