Collectivise data, or not?
In this short impulse, Dr Christina Jayne Colclough argues why workers could benefit from collectivising their data, yet also why this is, or could be, a dangerous path. Responsbile data stewardship is a must to prevent the commodification of work and workers.
"In relation to this conference, I'm really torn. On the one hand it would be fantastic if workers could collectivize their data, start analyzing them and pushing back on the very corporate driven narratives that we are fed. Those who have the data are also those who in a way can monopolize "the truth."
On the other hand we also have to see, if unions or workers start collectivizing their data, whether we are entering into a world where the workers accept that data is seen as a commodity. And if we think that thought through, are we also ourselves then accepting to become commoditized?
So on the one hand I want to stop this commodification of work and workers and on the other hand I think there's a deep need for us, maybe in the interim, to really collectivize our data, break the monopolization of truth, and let the world know what 'workers' realities really are.
Here in that interim period the idea of a data cooperative, a data trust could be really really helpful, but with caution and with care. I think the whole idea of responsible data stewardship must come at the forefront of all cooperatives or data trusts that we are talking about today"
About the New Common Sense Conference
From November 12 to 18, 2021, the Platform Cooperativism Consortium (PCC), the Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW), and the WZB Berlin Social Science Center hosted #TheNewCommonSense, the sixth edition of the annual PCC Conference.
Over seven days, more than 80 cooperative pioneers, workers, trade unionists, policymakers, researchers, and activists from over 20 countries came together to take stock of how platform co-ops have responded to the pandemic, to analyze supportive policy, and to discuss current experiments with data co-ops, token systems, and feminist tech infrastructures, among other subjects.
Watch all of the other impulses from activists, researchers, coop founders and workers here