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Are Data Unions the Future of Data?

Last tended on June 15, 2020
🌱 Budding


At the end of last year I got to attend MozFest here in London.

Mozilla events are consistently extaordinarily in their format and coordination level. It's a thousand-person unconference that actually works.

The only issue is immense FOMO as you try to pick between attending a roundtable discussion on gendered voice assistants, a panel on The Algorithmic Gaze, or a debate on The Future of Disinformation. You can browse through the overwhelming variety of sessions they ran here.


One of my favourite sessions was on Data Unions and the Future of Data with speakers from Streamr and the Open Data Institute

I hadn't encountered the concepts of Data Unions and Data Trusts before. While we're all acutely aware of the current economic-internet-clusterfuck where we seem to pay nothing for services, and invisibly hand over valuable data, you don't often hear reasonable solutions to the problem.

Other than some vague mumblings about blockchain that are swiftly followed up with an offer to buy into an ICO...

I sketched out some notes during the session which should give you a general idea of the model. I can't speak to any of the technical aspects or feasibility of this, but the concept is intriguing.

Apologies if the writing gets small - put your browser's zoom function to good use

An illustrated note on how data unions might work
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Maggie Appleton © 2020