The purpose of the Data Empowerment Fund is to support a diverse set of initiatives that enable greater individual agency or community control over data.It is powered by the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, Omidyar Network and Open Collective Foundation.
Why data empowerment?
People have limited opportunities to participate in the systems of data collection, use and sharing that shape our lives.
Most digital services provide only binary options to determine what they do with data. Workers generally have little say in how data is used in their workplaces. There are few opportunities for communities to organise around data and put it to work for their benefit.
Not enabling people to shape and participate in these systems risks creating deep mistrust. This mistrust could limit the potential of data – and the different technologies it powers – to be applied to the significant challenges of our time.
Empowering people with data also creates new opportunities. Citizen science projects show the power of harnessing the knowledge of crowds in conservation, medical research and beyond. Wikipedia remains the largest repository of human knowledge in the world, collaboratively maintained by millions of people around the world.
There is an urgent need for more experimentation of different forms of data empowerment, as well as greater understanding of those that could work at scale or across different contexts.
The Advisory Panel supports the Data Empowerment Fund to reach, select and support impactful initiatives. The Advisory Panel members are: