Perspectives on Platform Regulation


Open Access Book edited by Judit Bayer, Bernd Holznage, Päivi Korpisaari and Lorna Woods: “Concepts and Models of Social Media GovernanceOnline social media platforms set the agenda and structure for public and private communication in our age. Their influence and power is beyond any traditional media empire. Their legal regulation is a pressing challenge, but currently, they are mainly governed by economic pressures. There are now diverse legislative attempts to regulate platforms in various parts of the world. The European Union and most of its Member States have historically relied on soft law, but are now looking to introduce regulation.

Leading researchers of the field analyse the hard questions and the responses given by various states. The book offers legislative solutions from various parts of the world, compares regulatory concepts and assesses the use of algorithms….(More)”.

The Birth of Digital Human Rights


Book by Rebekah Dowd on “Digitized Data Governance as a Human Rights Issue in the EU”: “…This book considers contested responsibilities between the public and private sectors over the use of online data, detailing exactly how digital human rights evolved in specific European states and gradually became a part of the European Union framework of legal protections. The author uniquely examines why and how European lawmakers linked digital data protection to fundamental human rights, something heretofore not explained in other works on general data governance and data privacy. In particular, this work examines the utilization of national and European Union institutional arrangements as a location for activism by legal and academic consultants and by first-mover states who legislated digital human rights beginning in the 1970s. By tracing the way that EU Member States and non-state actors utilized the structure of EU bodies to create the new norm of digital human rights, readers will learn about the process of expanding the scope of human rights protections within multiple dimensions of European political space. The project will be informative to scholar, student, and layperson, as it examines a new and evolving area of technology governance – the human rights of digital data use by the public and private sectors….(More)”.

Data and Society: A Critical Introduction


Book by Anne Beaulieu and Sabina Leonelli: “Data and Society: A Critical Introduction investigates the growing importance of data as a technological, social, economic and scientific resource. It explains how data practices have come to underpin all aspects of human life and explores what this means for those directly involved in handling data. The book

  • fosters informed debate over the role of data in contemporary society
  • explains the significance of data as evidence beyond the “Big Data” hype
  • spans the technical, sociological, philosophical and ethical dimensions of data
  • provides guidance on how to use data responsibly
  • includes data stories that provide concrete cases and discussion questions.

Grounded in examples spanning genetics, sport and digital innovation, this book fosters insight into the deep interrelations between technical, social and ethical aspects of data work…(More)”.

Data protection in the context of covid-19. A short (hi)story of tracing applications


Book edited by Elise Poillot, Gabriele Lenzini, Giorgio Resta, and Vincenzo Zeno-Zencovich: “The volume presents the results of a research project  (named “Legafight”) funded by the Luxembourg Fond National de la Recherche in order to verify if and how digital tracing applications could be implemented in the Grand-Duchy in order to counter and abate the Covid-19 pandemic. This inevitably brought to a deep comparative overview of the various existing various models, starting from that of the European Union and those put into practice by Belgium, France, Germany, and Italy, with attention also to some Anglo-Saxon approaches (the UK and Australia). Not surprisingly the main issue which had to be tackled was that of the protection of the personal data collected through the tracing applications, their use by public health authorities and the trust laid in tracing procedures by citizens. Over the last 18 months tracing apps have registered a rise, a fall, and a sudden rebirth as mediums devoted not so much to collect data, but rather to distribute real time information which should allow informed decisions and be used as repositories of health certifications…(More)”.

Thinking Clearly with Data: A Guide to Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis


Book by Ethan Bueno de Mesquita and Anthony Fowler: “An introduction to data science or statistics shouldn’t involve proving complex theorems or memorizing obscure terms and formulas, but that is exactly what most introductory quantitative textbooks emphasize. In contrast, Thinking Clearly with Data focuses, first and foremost, on critical thinking and conceptual understanding in order to teach students how to be better consumers and analysts of the kinds of quantitative information and arguments that they will encounter throughout their lives.

Among much else, the book teaches how to assess whether an observed relationship in data reflects a genuine relationship in the world and, if so, whether it is causal; how to make the most informative comparisons for answering questions; what questions to ask others who are making arguments using quantitative evidence; which statistics are particularly informative or misleading; how quantitative evidence should and shouldn’t influence decision-making; and how to make better decisions by using moral values as well as data. Filled with real-world examples, the book shows how its thinking tools apply to problems in a wide variety of subjects, including elections, civil conflict, crime, terrorism, financial crises, health care, sports, music, and space travel.

Above all else, Thinking Clearly with Data demonstrates why, despite the many benefits of our data-driven age, data can never be a substitute for thinking.

  • An ideal textbook for introductory quantitative methods courses in data science, statistics, political science, economics, psychology, sociology, public policy, and other fields
  • Introduces the basic toolkit of data analysis—including sampling, hypothesis testing, Bayesian inference, regression, experiments, instrumental variables, differences in differences, and regression discontinuity
  • Uses real-world examples and data from a wide variety of subjects
  • Includes practice questions and data exercises…(More)”.

Design for Social Innovation: Case Studies from Around the World


Book edited By Mariana Amatullo, Bryan Boyer, Jennifer May and Andrew Shea: “The United Nations, Australia Post, and governments in the UK, Finland, Taiwan, France, Brazil, and Israel are just a few of the organizations and groups utilizing design to drive social change. Grounded by a global survey in sectors as diverse as public health, urban planning, economic development, education, humanitarian response, cultural heritage, and civil rights, Design for Social Innovation captures these stories and more through 45 richly illustrated case studies from six continents.

From advocating to understanding and everything in between, these cases demonstrate how designers shape new products, services, and systems while transforming organizations and supporting individual growth.

How is this work similar or different around the world? How are designers building sustainable business practices with this work? Why are organizations investing in design capabilities? What evidence do we have of impact by design? Leading practitioners and educators, brought together in seven dynamic roundtable discussions, provide context to the case studies.

Design for Social Innovation is a must-have for professionals, organizations, and educators in design, philanthropy, social innovation, and entrepreneurship. This book marks the first attempt to define the contours of a global overview that showcases the cultural, economic, and organizational levers propelling design for social innovation forward today…(More)”

The Cambridge Handbook of Commons Research Innovations


Book edited by Sheila R. Foster and Chrystie F. Swiney: “The commons theory, first articulated by Elinor Ostrom, is increasingly used as a framework to understand and rethink the management and governance of many kinds of shared resources. These resources can include natural and digital properties, cultural goods, knowledge and intellectual property, and housing and urban infrastructure, among many others. In a world of increasing scarcity and demand – from individuals, states, and markets – it is imperative to understand how best to induce cooperation among users of these resources in ways that advance sustainability, affordability, equity, and justice. This volume reflects this multifaceted and multidisciplinary field from a variety of perspectives, offering new applications and extensions of the commons theory, which is as diverse as the scholars who study it and is still developing in exciting ways…(More)”.

God, Human, Animal, Machine: Technology, Metaphor, and the Search for Meaning


Book by Meghan O’Gieblyn: “For most of human history the world was a magical and enchanted place ruled by forces beyond our understanding. The rise of science and Descartes’s division of mind from world made materialism our ruling paradigm, in the process asking whether our own consciousness—i.e., souls—might be illusions. Now the inexorable rise of technology, with artificial intelligences that surpass our comprehension and control, and the spread of digital metaphors for self-understanding, the core questions of existence—identity, knowledge, the very nature and purpose of life itself—urgently require rethinking.

Meghan O’Gieblyn tackles this challenge with philosophical rigor, intellectual reach, essayistic verve, refreshing originality, and an ironic sense of contradiction. She draws deeply and sometimes humorously from her own personal experience as a formerly religious believer still haunted by questions of faith, and she serves as the best possible guide to navigating the territory we are all entering….(More)”.

Patching Development: Information Politics and Social Change in India


Book by Rajesh Veeraraghavan: “How can development programs deliver benefits to marginalized citizens in ways that expand their rights and freedoms? Political will and good policy design are critical but often insufficient due to resistance from entrenched local power systems. In Patching Development, Rajesh Veeraraghavan presents an ethnography of one of the largest development programs in the world, the Indian National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), and examines NREGA’s implementation in the South Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. He finds that the local system of power is extremely difficult to transform, not because of inertia, but because of coercive counter strategy from actors at the last mile and their ability to exploit information asymmetries. Upper-level NREGA bureaucrats in Andhra Pradesh do not possess the capacity to change the power axis through direct confrontation with local elites, but instead have relied on a continuous series of responses that react to local implementation and information, a process of patching development. “Patching development” is a top-down, fine-grained, iterative socio-technical process that makes local information about implementation visible through technology and enlists participation from marginalized citizens through social audits. These processes are neither neat nor orderly and have led to a contentious sphere where the exercise of power over documents, institutions and technology is intricate, fluid and highly situated. A highly original account with global significance, this book casts new light on the challenges and benefits of using information and technology in novel ways to implement development programs….(More)”.

Open Science: the Very Idea


Book by Frank Miedema: “This open access book provides a broad context for the understanding of current problems of science and of the different movements aiming to improve the societal impact of science and research. 

The author offers insights with regard to ideas, old and new, about science, and their historical origins in philosophy and sociology of science, which is of interest to a broad readership. The book shows that scientifically grounded knowledge is required and helpful in understanding intellectual and political positions in various discussions on the grand challenges of our time and how science makes impact on society. The book reveals why interventions that look good or even obvious, are often met with resistance and are hard to realize in practice. 

Based on a thorough analysis, as well as personal experiences in aids research, university administration and as a science observer, the author provides – while being totally open regarding science’s limitations- a realistic narrative about how research is conducted, and how reliable ‘objective’ knowledge is produced. His idea of science, which draws heavily on American pragmatism, fits in with the global Open Science movement. It is argued that Open Science is a truly and historically unique movement in that it translates the analysis of the problems of science into major institutional actions of system change in order to improve academic culture and the impact of science, engaging all actors in the field of science and academia…(More)”.