The Technium

Data Manifesto

1) Data cannot be owned. By anybody.

2) The natural habitat of data is in the commons. It is born in the commons, and will return to the commons,     even if it is granted temporary monopolies. The longer it spends in the commons, the better.

3) Data is a shared resource, that only exists in relationship to its sources and substrates.

4) Any party that touches or generates a bit of data has rights and responsibilities about that data.

5) Rights always have corresponding responsibilities.

6) Control of data is both a right and responsibility that is always shared.

7) Privacy is a misunderstanding that does not apply to data.

8) Data is made more valuable by being connected to other data. Solitary data is worthless.

9) Data is made more valuable by moving. Storage is weak because it halts, “Movage” is better.

10) Both directions of movage are important — where it came from, where it goes.

11) The meta data about where data goes is as important as where it came from.

12) Ensuring bi-directionality, the symmetry of movage, is important to the robustness of the data net.

13) Data can generate infinite derivative data (meta data) but they all follow the same rules.

14) When new data is generated from data (meta data) the rights and responsibilities of the first generation proceed to the second.

15) At the same time, meta data has claims of rights and responsibilities upon the root data.

16) Data can be expensive or free, determined by the market. It has no inherent value.

17) Data is easy to replicate in time (free copies) and difficult to replicate over time (digital decay). The only way to carry data into the future is if it is exercised (moved) by those who care about it.

18) Like all other shared resources, data can suffer from the tragedy of the commons, and this commons must be protected by governments.

19) As the number of entities, including meta data, touching a bit of data expands over time, with claims of rights and responsibilities, some values will dilute and some will amplify.

20) To manage the web of relationships, rights and responsibilities of data will require technological and social tools that don’t exist yet.


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