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New Book: Democratizing Our Data

In the book “Democratizing our Data: A Manifesto” Julia Lane discusses the topic of data democratisation in the context of the US, legislations that could support it and successful paradigms that can be followed. The book is a call to rethink the way that US collects and analyzes public data, in order to improve privacy, equity and the implementation of policy initiatives.

The author is proposing ways to shift the objective of data usage from profit to public good. She analyses the current situation, what led to it, the challenges and a roadmap that can lead towards a more equitable future.  This book refers to policy makers and anyone interested in government, public policy and data.  As the author describes it, it is a wake-up call to America to fix its broken public data system.

Throughout the book it is underlined that it is in the hands of the government to “level the data playing field’. We are witnessing a shift of decision-making based on data collection and interpretation from private corporations, which threatens democracy due to the exclusion of certain part of the population.

This book underlines the need for a more automated, transparent, and accountable framework for creating high-quality public data that would empower citizens and inspire the workforce that serves them. An organizational model that has the potential to make data more accessible and useful is outlined.

“The private sector’ s Data Revolution- where new types of data are collected and new measurements created by the private sector to build machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms- can be mirrored by a public sector Data Revolution, one that is characterised by attention to counting all who should be counted, measuring what should be measured, and protecting privacy and confidentiality.”

Julia Lane is a founder of the Coleridge Initiative, Professor at the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and the NYU Center for Urban Science and Progress, and an NYU Provostial Fellow for Innovation Analytics. The path outlined in this book is the result of over twenty-five years of experience working with data in academia, many levels of government, and the private sector.

Find the book here.