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Personal Democracy Forum Italia: September 29th in Rome

BY Antonella Napolitano | Tuesday, September 16 2014

PDF Italia will take place in Rome on September 29, 2014

In less than two weeks, on September 29th, Personal Democracy Forum will come to Italy for the first time, kicking off a series of conferences and events called Innovation Week (you can register here). More than 30 speakers will gather to explore the theme, “In a data society.”

Data provides information for citizens and on the work done by institutions, it creates opportunities for companies, and has the potential to improve our lives and make administration more efficient. Data represents the new currency of contemporary society, an instrument of knowledge and power, with enormous consequences on our lives and the decisions we make.

Speakers include longtime friends of PDM as well as new ones: MySociety founder Tom Steinberg will open the conference, followed by MEP Marietje Schaake. Later on, Marko Rakar and Alberto Cottica will present brand new talks on how to reinvent citizenship and institutions.

In the talk, "Challenging the status quo," Luciano Floridi, Professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Information at the University of Oxford, will explore the importance of big data, the challenges it creates and its consequences for various societal actors, particularly citizens. Professor Floridi is also part of the Google Advisory Council on the Right to be Forgotten: his insights will be all the more important.

We'll have some old friends back: Anthony Hamelle, who presented a map of the European political blogosphere at PDF Europe 2009, will show us an exclusive preview of the data used by economist Thomas Piketty in his seminal work "Capital in the XXI century", making the case for them to be publicly available.

In the afternoon, there will be three different tracks exploring a variety of topics:

Track A: Openness and everything after
What happens when the “data genius” is out of the bottle? How can we create a long-term process to involve citizens in civic activities? Why have no European political parties really managed to fully update their campaigning methods?

Track B: In distrust we trust
Privacy, surveillance and power relations: what is at stake for citizens and institutions after Datagate? What are the stakes of having our social lives, political identities and calls to actions increasingly governed by privately-owned algorithms?

Track C: Data 4 Citizens' Rights
'Transparency' and 'participation' are words that have been 'used and abused' in the past few years: while they certainly do not lose meaning, it is becoming harder and harder to figure out how to create a sustainable process to foster both. What comes after transparency? How can we build new ways for people to make their voice heard? And what happens when frustration is all we hear?

Personally, I am particularly excited to gather the Italian community at PDF Italia, after attending PDF events all over the world for many years – I've been to 15 PDF conferences in 5 countries, so far!

And this is just the start.

See you in Rome!

(And don't forget to register)