I do not expect much more action on the hackpad, so I am putting this content on the website directly.
The EC’s DG CONNECT has a new call out called Distributed architectures for decentralized data governance. The EU struggles with the seemingly unavoidable tendency of data to flow towards central repositories owned by big companies (Google, Facebook etc.). This creates an imbalance of power: value is created by aggregation, but almost all of it is appropriated by these companies. The response to this has so far been regulatory – making new laws or antitrust-type moves. This call is looking in a different direction: can the response be, instead, socio-technical? Can different solutions be created that are attractive enough to be adopted by a critical mass of people? The technical problem has been solved before. Two solutions have been mentioned: peer-to-peer networks and blockchain. They technically work, but have so far been unable to alter the big picture.
The call funds proofs of concept: solutions, use cases, technical and socio-technical architectures. The deadline is April 12 2016; the total budget 5 million. DG CONNECT expect to receive fewer than 10 proposals and to fund about 2 projects.
The discussion revolved around what a prototype solution might look like – especially since it would need to be invented and deployed in a highly centralized world dominated by “winner take it all” dynamics, not in a tabula rasa situation. For example, Diaspora might have been more successful if it had not been born in a world which already had Facebook.