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Empowering people in the digital age. A conference on digital self-determination.

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Humans in the Driving Seat

Data is changing how we live and engage with and within our societies and our economies. As our digital footprints grow, how do we re-imagine ourselves in the digital world? How will we be able to determine the data-driven decisions that impact us?

Digital self-determination offers a unique way of understanding where we (can) live in the digital space - how we manage our social media environments, our interaction with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other technologies, how we access and operate our personal data, and the ways in which we can have a say about mass data sharing.

Through this network, we aim to study and design ways to engage in trustworthy data spaces and ensure human centric approaches. We recognize an urgent need to ensure people’s digital self-determination so that ‘humans in the loop’ is not just a catch-phrase but a lived experience both at the individual and societal level.



To advance action-oriented research and policy regarding digital self-determination in a manner which appreciates the unique possibilities, potential and problems facing the management of different types of data in safe trustworthy digital spaces.


To advance comparative understandings of digital self-determination which respectfully empower data subjects to flourish in their digital lives according to their individual and shared social preferences, including but not limited to the managing of their personal data, and to do so conscious of their shared duties and responsibilities as members of digital communities.


To communicate among scholars, researchers, policy makers and commentators across disciplines how digital self-determination can be a fresh novel approach to the discourse about human agency in the digitally connected world and, inter alia, the value of personal data to data subjects, along with the recognition of responsible and respectful data access and data use.


To explore and apply new understandings of the nature and value of data, their place in personal relationships and communications, the necessity to protect their integrity, the importance of data for sustainable digital communities, markets, economies and global futures.


To give a platform to experts from different disciplines across academia, industry, government and third sector to bring the concepts of digital self-determination to the global policy and practice stage.



Theory formation: conceptualizing the notion of self-determination, both digital and non-digital, by bringing together different perspectives in a foundational framework.


Dialogue on Digital Self-Determination: Facilitating conversations that will inform future policy discussions on how to create trustworthy data spaces and entice responsible innovation.


Hub of practices: Building a repository of promising examples of digital self-determination that enables comparative and diagnostic research.


Use Cases: Operationalizing the concept of digital self-determination by illustrating its meaning and value in our everyday life with concrete examples


Foundational Framework for Digital Self-Determination: Working towards establishing common understanding and an action-oriented framework for building transnational trustworthy data spaces


Capacity Building: Engaging in international capacity-building efforts aimed at knowledge-building and skill-sharing among diverse actors across the world


Stefaan G. Verhulst
Co-Founder and Chief Research and Development Officer, The GovLab, New York University
Roger Dubach
Deputy Director, Directorate of International Law, Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs
Brigitte Benoit Landale
Deputy Head, International Law Section, Directorate of International Law, Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs
Mark Findlay
Director, SMU Centre for AI and Data Governance
Nydia Remolina
Research Associate, Singapore Management University Center for AI and Data Governance
Elisabeth Sylvan
Managing Director, Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University
Sandra Cortesi
Director of Youth and Media, Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, Harvard University
Urs Gasser
Dean and Professor of Public Policy, Governance, and Innovative Technology, TUM School of Social Sciences and Technology, Technical University of Munich



Interested in Digital Self Determination? Let us know what you are working on via [email protected]