# Foundation for Public Code running notes, Decidimfest
(30 Oct 2019)
> these notes can be found at http://bit.ly/decidimfest19
> skip to bottom of the page for 31 Oct 2019
So far this, is a welcome. It's an informal conference, warm welcome, this guy is from the mayor's office?
## Joan Subirats
We were expecting a renewal of civic participation/democracy based on the internet. Now we can't live without internet, but the internet doesn't let us live the way we want - due to the toxicity of platform capitalism
This talk is deliberately about the title of the week -
We defend the net's neturality, but also ensure the net doesn't neutralise us.
Platform capitalism is a type of fungus that can expand indefinitely, destroying resources it draws upon.
We can repoliticize technology. We need not just debates about regulation, but also mobilization and action
Main mobile companies in this country are doing something with non-anonymised user data (pooling it?)
## Marc Serra
He'll talk about politicization of technology. On the way here, we passed by tens of people without interacting them, without paying attention to their faces, without knowing about their lives, the inequality of society.
But we did pay attention to our screens thsi morning.
Technology isn't intrinsically evil or good, but it does...isolate?
It's a tool for building a community.
Platforms are a challenge to/for democracy.
There was the opportunity to use tech for community, but it wasn't happening, so Decidim was created.
Something about neighbors starting from a crazy idea to win the city, from a logic of community not mercantile and we have it now in 80 cities
Lots of rhetoric about reflecting the action/mobilization of the people in the street in teh political/policy sphere.
More than 40k citizens have participated
We've given a political value to the actions of citizens
Decidim lets us amplify the
> (I'm struggling to keep up with translating this guy - sorry) He talks really quickly..
(he's talking very fast)
Decidim has 3 challenges in the coming years:
1. amplifying participation in budgets - Barcelona's trying this now.
2. how to make these tools genuinely accessible? So to all neighborhoods, even with digital gaps/low digital access. How can we add Deidim access (antennae) to libraries, civic centers, etc.
3. Seems to have skipped this despite saying mutiple times there'd be 3.
Wants to end with a vision:
Imagine what the city of BCN would have been like if it had been built based on actually listening to citizen input/with citizen participation. Old people, children, women would have had a much heavier weight/say, the city would be less unequal, it would look very different now.
We need to activate the ecosystem to transform the city to advance for its residents.
## Alejandra Gonzalez (Mexico City)
Prior to Claudia being elected in 2019, there were strong laws but little execution
Strongest particpatory law in the country, but DOA - high citizen cost to participation. Citizens needed 57k signatures to initiate a consultation, get a law up for voting, etc. That's scaling issues in practice
The previous administration had an innovation lab, which didn't have much legal foundation.
So this admin created an agency of digital public innovation, uniting lots of stuff.
- city wide cameras, panic buttons, her job is making sure citizens get exposure in policymaker
Mexico has 9 million direct citizens
24 million in the greater urban area, or work
very political population - 3 marches a week in the downtown
how to channel all this political energy into something reuslting in concrete action?
Started with public audiences with the mayor beteween 6-7am
Neighborhood security commissions - seucrity is the biggest concdrn of residents. These are really successful.
Creating a social fabric so neighbors talk amongst themselves about safetey, eg in negihborhod whatsapp groups.
Tequios: shared work by neighbors to take care of their community.
They voted to name their new baby giraffe - 28k votes in this consultation.
Sentika - to help organize volunteers in case of emergency (so they help in an earthquake but don't make things worse for vicitims)
She launched the online public plaza earlier this year. Topics have included:
- gov't programme
- street cleaning in the historic center
- adding a citizen to search committee? (not sure what the search is for)
- proposals for a fair
- monthly ocnsultaion on integrating the reconstruction committee
Currently working to update the law to make it easier for citizens to get involved.
- separating voting for eelctions from consultations
- decidim is used for the consultations
- lots of people (eg old people, indigenous pepole) don't have email (solution: experiment iwth connecting this with people's voter ID, online signup using in person verification)
> [name=Jan Ainali]That's an unexpected solution to me.
- upcoming: simpler login, outreach using local neighborhood institutions, using the online system to support physical presence, campaign to get people exiced about online participation
> her Spanish is /so/ much easier to understand!
### 10 min of questions!
1. people in Latin America use more closed social network apps on mobiles instead of computers, how does that affect getting people involved in your consultation platform?
2. tell us more about the platfrom research you did
3. participatory budgets - tell us more about your planned projects
4. how big is your team?
/4. Me! And I'm here. 2nd person starts on 1 nov, next year a 3rd will join us. It's a decentralised set up; their job is to enable other institutions to have their own consultations, so they help otehrs.
/3. Budgets: participatory budgets have been around for a while in MexicoDF, but only used in rich neighborhoods. They'd love to publish guidance on how everyone can use them.
>('m missing some detail here.)
/1 and 2. High mobile penetration. Now adding 13 thousand high speed internet hotspots for people who don't yet have internet. Brings access to city facilities to their neighborhood, rather than them having to travel across the city to access city services.
## Arnau Monterde
> I wouldn't have previously been able to ID a Cataln accent; I can now.
The internet has a material reality.
Yellow = cables owned by google, FB, Amazon, other tech giants. They own the phsyical infra we depend on.
Where the servers are, who owns them, and what they can do with them. There's no democratic or public control over these.
Recent book about investigating what happens in Tinder's algorithm - it creates bubbles of cool people and people with no social hope. Creating a form of eugenics/experiment in changing the future of society.
Terrifying to give them this control.
Tweet about online harassment:
7am, first dick pic on her phone today. 1 week since someone published her phone number on the internet, and the account that doxed her is still up - no accountability from Twitter.
lots of fear, again no control over the development of this tech. We can't see the code, and it's all in private hands.
Zuckerberg - this is him in front of congress, looking a little pale.
We can't let him have the key to the democracy.
We can't let these shameless people have any control. People with lots of pwoer, lots of money, far right politics trying to establish a foothold in Europe. Tech basis for a new int'l facist movement. Breitbart is an example of their tech platform. Ideology relying on fake news.
Guifi.net - free, open, public in use in Catalonia.
Using lasers to defeat facial recognition in Hong Kong.
Using Twitter to create a support community of women who'd experienced misogynistic harassment.
Zuck/AOC video is amazing - go watch it.
almost 500k people in Spain have asked the nat'l elctoral institute to ensure they get no political campaign material - maybe some environmental motivation, but definitely serious apathy (rejection of democracy)
**Decidim is a response to this context.**
magnificent community, has been translated into 30 langauges by volunteers
62 contributors (mostly men, but they've got a plan to attract more women)
Come join the debate about the future of Decidim (new development, features, etc) online.
We want to create public productive communities, not concentrated in private tech giants.
Distributed infrastructure and meta scale of governance. This lets us create many mini-local democracies, at a sustainable scale, lots of distributed, decentralized governance. This lets us create
Small scale = sustainable response to challenges of society.
Local accessibility and UX matter, but more importantly, we can customise/create local democratic processes (high quality, more options, people participate if given valid political representation). Open up access to things that affect people's lives, and they'll participate. They'll show up.
Tehnoclogical literacy/capability: we can teach this at schools, this guarantees local access.
Digital and democratic innovation and experimentation: lots of applied research possible. Dismantle cathedrals of research/education disconnected from society.
Here's the stats in BCN:
- had to change laws to make sure online signatures had legal standing
- created an online archive of the history of online participcation, lets people understand the trajectory of democratic participation
Lots of other public institutions are also using Decidim, eg publicly owned energy company. More democratic participation elsehwere!
Currently experimental, but we can install these all over, eg in libraries, neighborhood orgs.
Participatry budgeting in BCN.
Dedicim is also a public service available to other civic organizations to use themselves, eg any other civil society orgs can use Decidim to organize themselves.
Curently working to consolidate the community and improve the code to ensure medium/long term quality and sustainailibty not dependent on city of BCN.
Security, integrity, cryptogaphy, online voting (experiment using blockchain for completely secure but anonymous voting)
* user groups
* text editor
* some other features
By end of 2020:
- sharing data in federated Dedicim instances
Repetition of what their goal is: to democratize the technology and participation (?)
1. Question about Russia, FB, AOC?
A: more democratic control about this infrastructure, let's build a diaspora, let's remember we can build networks that reject the logic of FB
2. Expansion int'l. How will this expand and go well between the new collaborators? (Dude has an Argentine accent?)
A: Scale. Critical infrastructure everywhere it goes, can't be abandoned, when we create agreement with local gov't and Deicidim foundation - we create a legal agreement designed to strengthen Decidim's embeddedness.
Collaboration between equals - Metadecidim lets us negotiate and debate future development togehter
Scale challenge we have is one of global coordination (in response to large global demand) -
so we need to have structures
we need to keep practicing our own internal democracy so we live our values, including with/for the code
3. How to prevent the code from being hijacked by far right politics?
A. No restrictions in the code. The only restriction is to follow the license. But there is a social contract that provides a social stamp that the use of decidim is democratic. They can socially reject a facistically/undemocratically used Decidim instance. But the code does guarantee the anonymity of the voters/users of the software (which is intrinsically antifacist).
You can always spin up a counter Decidim instance if one's been hijacked. But especially the Decidim dommunity should enable/guarantee most usage is truly democratic.
4. How to create a political tool that isn't corrupted by politics?
5. How can we actually persuade citizens that they need to create their own social networks, that FB isn't actually a community, to create a counterweight/counterpower to FB?
A. It's not a dichotomy. We can work on networks of cities while also working to ensure the downfall of the tech giants. We need to pressure our cities to let us participate in everything - let us experiment with all the things we can participate in.
Only 1 instance of trolling in 3 years, despite the giant participation we've had so far. Trolls let us learn how to manage them most effectively - show us the limits of our tolerance, let us work out our limits together.
Get your politicians on the internet! So they can interact with you directly.
Let's enable citizen to citizen interactions so they can ID problems and solutions together - this collaboration doesn't need official sanction/permission. Lots of Decidim is already used this way.
## Privacy talk (Enrique)
> The speaker's goals were to make the most dense, short, brief and pedagogic talk possible - so this might be harder.
>(slides are there -- maybe this is one to skip? give yourself a break?)
Sociology of the digital era
- Big data provides the lens through which to understand the world
Mobile hegemony over other types of tech
it's an appendage of our body
So it's harder to have a privacy that is geniunely opaque, not visible to 3rd parties
Permanent connection means that all public spaces are hybridized with private. Everyone has their private bubble in their pocket, and we opt for this reality over the physical reality we're in.
Paradigmatic change from your own room to your own connected room (quote from an anthropolgist here)
Privacy is in crisis. It was previously a value in its own right, to be disconennected so you could focus on other activities (eg writing a book)
So how to be permanently connected but enjoy other activities?
All activities of human civilization can now take place more "efficiently" via an app.
Human beings continue to need their room of their own. YouTubers can't disconnect from their work, which is their own private life.
What replies can we provide as a society?
1. theoretical framework: serenity, as defined by Heideger. A midpoint between a position of technoskepticism/doom (Hagar's position?) and our current position of embracing technology. We should aim for a position in between - eg, design changes to break addictive design
privacy that is sustainble, accessible, that doesn't require you to give up your mobile.
So how to become a more conscious user? We need to learn the lessons to switch from users (as defined in consumerist terms) to political subjects (who can exercise control)
> I've been mishearing soveriengty as serenity! This talk makes so much more sense now.
> Edit: nope, he's aiming for a serene position by exercising sovereignty
How to reduce data noise:
- take a digital sabbath (voluntary disconnection at least one day/week) to reduce dependency
- to recover a sphere of the world insulated/isolated from the tech world
- recover objects and knowledge made obsolete by the smartphone
- camera and watch makers are in crisis - these let you know the time without the distraction of seeing all your push notification
- voluntarily reduce sharing (to reduce the speed/volume for everyone)
Strategies for an online data ecology:
- Limit permissions granted to apps on your phone (for example microphone recordings used to profile you as a client)
- distrust as a default policy what the big actors say
- turn off functionality to avoid dependency (and control) (eg dont' connect to public wifi in shopping centers so they get data where people move in which shops)
- reduce time and number of profiles of social networks
- relativize your own actions to avoid paranoia
1. (missed this)
2. Platforms for ethical hack?
3. mybe: what is the role [?] for gov't in encourageing heidegger's serentiy in the face fo FB?
4. Question concretely about Decidim: we've aimed to guarantee anonymity to reduce our responsibilty for personal data, to reduce our own risk. Other dilemma arises: institution running consulation does need personal data to know about who's participated (eg in which neighboorhood) - currently Decidim lets the end user decide what they're sharing. What's your advice?
/4. Socially, we need to decide what the big data collected can be used for - in some caes, it can be quite beneficial. Socialism vs anarchy - there are justifications ... the state needs some data about its population to function.
?. We like beautifully designed objects. The alternative paradigm is the 90s, like the exampel of the torrent: hard to use, never worked. No recommendations for specific hardware these dys, so I recommendation individual bheavior change.
?. Most people aren't interested in or able to hack - so to have privacy we shouldn't expect people to become computer superusers/experts. We need cultural change, or political action - that's what we're trying to do. We need individual action (unsatsifactory and ineffective though this may seem). The political fight's already been lost, probably.
## Alex Hache
I'm here on behalf of a group, so I'll be sayin 'we'. We've had various experiments, workshops. So we've created
-- develop methods and strategies for defense against
gloal scope, not just Spain.
Gender based violence definition - against women and LGBTQ
Anonymity and privacy are needed by survivors (= fundamental human rights). So while aggressors use these, forcing real IDs isn't a solution.
She's not interested in expalining the ecosystem of the assholes, but rather how to defend.
Most important things to know when you're being attacked:
1. Do you know them in person?
2. Are they working alone or together? (effect is really different)
3. Are they being paid to do their harassment? Cyberarmed vs trolls
Worked with colleagues in Mexico, Guatemala, Chile - source of new types of gender based violence, so also new forms of response.
4 main groups of attacks:
- insult and shame
(See their website!)
How to respond ot these attacks is very contextual, so while attacks may be similar around the world, the defense depends on your local culture.
Online <-> offline is a continuum.
Tech allows us to construct narratives: creates tropes which lead to stereotypes, which leads to prejudices, which leads to discrimination.
Wide semantic battleground.
Shared vs distributed information.
Temporality: 24 hours a day.
Process of revictimization - hard to rectify (for example) non-consensual porn.
The internet doesn't want to forget: Platforms dont help, because their motivation is to increase clicks.
No official data shared by platforms
Solution: reply to the consultation at domestech online (tomorrow's the last day!) if you've received gender-based online abuse.
We need intersectional and holistic solutions.
- becuase the behavior's related.
- some of these behaviors are already illegal, but the law doesn't understand/know how to prosecute online harassement
- law doesn't understand why online harassment has an impact on, for example, your professional life (and therefore offers inappopriate advice, like delete your Twitter account)
Strategies - this is the cool bit
Do these things, of coruse:
1. Selfcare! Take care of yourself.
2. Physical seucrity and personal defense.
3. digital privacy and security, manage your online identity
4. Lobby platforms
5. public policy
- networks and communitites of support and solidarity
- support and accompany (stand with?) people fighting gender based violence
- create feminist
Support for pro-choice activists in Latin America
- creating new networks
- lower costs
Analyze attacks they were getting
examples of websites that help:
Website for support for victims of non-consensual porn
Pakistan: cyber harassment helpline.
- Feminists, psycholgists, technoloists, with links to platforms (for example to get accounts offline)
Access now helpline:
- for human rights activists
- responders in 18 languages
- includes support for online harassment
- how to help people facing a digital emergency
- connects you with people who can help make sure you're physically safe, then to recover what's been stolen, etc.
Not enough of this stuff happening in Spain
1. how can I make my online community (for my company) welcoming? (to avoid sexist/exclusionary language)
2. New European research to establish data/evidence into violence against women (recognition that there's not a lot of hard evidence)
3. what's the impact in other countries, something about development
4. digital militias that attack women
/4. Most of the orgs I mention are part of online human rights orgs (including access to the internet) - not just gender based violence.
The first int'l goal was to network people doing this work anyway - we have all of Latin America connected.
Brazil still needs a lot more people who can give workshops. It's like the sea - the situation improved but we need to do more.
/3. No longitudinal studies. Only retroactive snapshots. We need a public institution to establish/validate just how harmful this is.
/1. No recommendations to help you write politically correct Spanish.
## Proyecta UNA
Online cultural wars. Forocoches is nominally a forum about cars, but functionally (Elena's opinion here) sounds like a local Spanish branch of 4/8chan.
> <I'm taking a break> :+1: :+1:
This image comes from the Spanish nat'l police, putting a nat'l police officer into teh new Star Wars poster - plugging into narratives we have anway
Spanish nat'l police accepted pizza fundraised online and thanked Twitter for it (organized by Twitter trolls; the policia national has been deployed to control Catalonia)
NB the pizza was bougth from a chain that doesnt' pay their employees in line with nat'l minimum wage (or something about their labor conditions)
Sexualizing and ridiculing damaged bodies is a way of establishing dominance
Forocoches also where victim of [la Manada](https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caso_de_La_Manada) was doxxed.
Neutrality and equidistance - monopoly of the 'normal'
There is nothing neutral - you're a militant of capitalism
Tools are just tools, but their use is always political.
But the resistance can also use these tools.
Twitter distribution of videos of police committing human rights abuses
People adding subtitles in other languages to spread the democratic tsunami info
Cyberspace enables movements, gives voices to people who don't have a voice
It can affect our reality
Massive individualism in people's protest placards these days - they're making their own, and putting them in English so they'll be more popular on Insta
1. [missed this] Even 4chan shuts down theatening threads.
2. What's the key for the Decidim community (who is a bubble of open source enthusiasts) for intersecting with these other movements/issues you see online?
/1. The Forocoches owner hands over data to police when they go after individuals for illegal behavior, but the forum remains as a source of hate/poor behavior. So platform complies with the law.
Forocoches is the biggest Spanish speaking (not just Spain) farright social platform. Maybe 400k users?
Its' really hard to get a forocoches account, so the people on the community are super invested.
/2. Identities are constructed. Nobody is normal or neutral, everyone acts based on their identities.
"social networks that belong to evil mega corporations"
The best way to win an argument with a nazi is by not having it - don't recognize them.
## Paula Forteza (French MP)
1. Opensource respects personal data and GDPR.
2. I used to focus on civictech hardware, but after becoming a politician, I realized the whole process the tool was integrated into mattered.
Top down political initiatives require civil society counterparts to create trust; civil society initatitives require an exsiting political process counterpart to have any impact
I've launched a new platform:
1000 citizen questions have been asked of government, 40 MPs have also participated.
# 31 October 2019
## Michael Donaldson
Tldr for Michael - the agenda for next years is understanding how to solve citizen problems with new collaborations between private and public (including open challenges) improving accesibilidad de citizen services, using data for proactive outreach to vulnerable citizens, main streaming a new radical transparancy policy that includes a public justification for most/all projects and expenditures.