Class 2

Andreas Weigend | Social Data Revolution | Fall 2016
School of Information | University of California at Berkeley | INFO 290A

Video: Social Data Revolution: Topic 3
Transcript: sdr2016topic03.docx
Audio: sdr2016topic03.mp3

Contributors: Naniette Coleman, Pauline Duprat, Hanh Bui

In this class we will discuss the six data rights proposed by Andreas Weigend and order them in terms of importance. The right to access data, the right to inspect data companies, the right to amend, the right to blur, the right to experiment, and the right to port (our data to other companies). Which data rights are the most meaningful for you as an individual, which rights are critical for our society, and are there some rights that we can live without perhaps?
Topic 3: Presentation of 6 Data Rights
Introduction: A Disturbing __Nixle__ Alert From UC Berkeley

A Crime Occurred at Dwight Way and Piedmont Avenue at 10:02 pm. “Based on the descriptions of the suspects, their close geographic and chronological proximity, BPD believe there is a high probability that the cases are related.”How do Berkeley police determine if the second crime, committed at 10:15 pm at Benvenue Avenue and Derby Streets, is related?

Text of NIXLE Message sent out on Tuesday August 2nd, 2016 :: 03:40 p.m. PDT

Advisory: Crime Alert - Series of Robberies

Dear __,

Please note this message may contain information that some may find upsetting.


(Taken from Andreas Weigend's notes and

Campus Crime Alerts are released by the University California Police Department when certain crimes are reported on or near campus property, in compliance with federal law. These timely warnings provide information about campus safety situations, and allow campus community members to take precautions for personal safety.

Series of Robberies

City of Berkeley Police Department Jurisdiction

The Berkeley Police Department has reported five pedestrian robberies that occurred on Monday, August 1, 2016 between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 11:45 p.m. in the city near the south side of campus. Based on the descriptions of the suspects, their close geographic and chronological proximity, BPD believe there is a high probability that the cases are related.

Dwight Way and Piedmont Avenue
10:02 p.m.
Robbery (via threat of gun)
Benvenue Avenue and Derby Streets
10:15 p.m.
Robbery (via strong arm)
Channing Way and Dana Street
10:19 p.m.
Robbery (with handgun seen)
Garber Street and College Avenue
10:30 p.m.
Robbery (with handgun seen)
Benvenue Avenue and Parker Street
11:41 p.m.
Robbery (with handgun seen)

The suspects were described as:

Suspect #1: A Black male, late teens or early 20s, 5’7” in height, with a medium build, wearing a gray sweatshirt.

Suspect #2: A Black male, late teens or early 20s, 6’0” in height, with a thin build, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt.

If you have any information about this crime, please contact: City of Berkeley Police Department Robbery Detail via dispatch at (510) 981-5900 / 24 Hours

UCPD would like to remind the campus community about the following safety tips:

  • Utilize the free Night Safety Services located at
  • Travel with a friend or in a group
  • Be alert and aware of your surroundings
  • When out and about, keep your electronic devices out of public view as they are a popular robbery target
  • If a motor vehicle is involved in a crime report the following information: activity, direction of travel, license plate, color, make/model, unusual characteristics (e.g., dents, bumper stickers, graphics, wheels, tinted windows, lifted/lowered), number of persons, etc.
  • Please do not delay in calling 911. UCPD strongly encourages the reporting of criminal or suspicious activity in a timely manner to assist us in intervening in potential criminal actively and apprehending suspects.

This crime alert has been released with the joint cooperation of BPD and UCPD.

__University of California Police Department, Berkeley__
1 Sproul Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 510-642-6760

A Potential Solution: Persistent Surveillance Systems (PSS)
  • Pause and consider, what local police have at their disposal in a situation like this. Mainly traditional crime fighting assets. Are their crime fighting assets enough to identify the assailant and determine if he/she also committed the second crime?
  • Persistent Surveillance Systems (PSS) suggests that they provide “Law Enforcement Support” and can help police “fight spikes in crime, identify criminal networks, and overcome lack of information to solve more crimes” via several services, including their “Hawkeye II.”
  • Could drones deployed by PSS be helpful in determining if one suspect committed the 5 crimes in and around Berkeley from 10:02 pm to 11:41 pm on August 1, 2016? But at what cost to the privacy of other citizens

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“Unlike standard surveillance where you're piecing together human intelligence, ground base cameras, and witness statments - many times either non-existent or un-reliable, PSS HawkEye II can show you everything that has happended and track the suspect(s) where they go. Here, a suspect is tracked to and from the three locations he robbed.” (Spelling errors and picture are courtesy of PSS website -!law-enforcement-support/cltw)

Excerpt from a 2014 Washington Postarticle on PSS’s work in Juárez, MX:

“Shooter and victim were just a pair of pixels, dark specks on a gray streetscape. Hair color, bullet wounds, even the weapon were not visible in the series of pictures taken from an airplane flying two miles above.”

“But what the images revealed — to a degree impossible just a few years ago — was location, mapped over time. Second by second, they showed a gang assembling, blocking off access points, sending the shooter to meet his target and taking flight after the body hit the pavement. When the report reached police, it included a picture of the blue stucco building into which the killer ultimately retreated, at last beyond the view of the powerful camera overhead.”

  • According to Professor Weigend this technology, formerly only available overseas, is now available in the United States and several Police Departments have access to it. In order to fight this crime all that the Berkeley Police Department would need to do (if they are using this technology) is go to the PSS control center in Dayton, Ohio and have them look at the video. From that video police would be able to see the person at 10:02 at Dwight and Piedmont, where he/she came from before that and where he/she went afterwards. But again I ask, at what cost to the privacy of other citizens?

The Right to Privacy
  • When you consider what Ross McNutt and the staff at PSS have at their disposal in terms of crime fighting technology you realize that we are living in a very different world than that of Samuel D. Warren and Louis D. Brandeis who published “Right to Privacy” in Harvard Law Review in 1890.
  • Professor Wiegend suggested in Topic 3 that we should always assume we are being tracked all the time because the apps on the devices that are with us constantly in our daily lives (Ex. Google) are droaning on in the background.

How Can We Make Data For The People?

Given the world we live in, Professor Wiegend believes we should invest our efforts in ensuring individuals have “Six Data Rights” which fall under two categories: “Increase Transparency” and “Increase User Agency.”

The Six Data Rights

Rights 1-2: Increase Transparency:

  • The right to know what's going on with your data and the right to see your data.
  • Currently the system is a one way mirror, you do not know what is there, only the company knows. It should be like a window, where both sides can see each other. How can we do it ?→ 2 specific rights

Right to access your data:

  • This right is NOT as straightforward as it seems
  • Having access to your data means more than just a raw dump of what they have about you, but to some degree it means it's up to us to put flesh onto that bone. Data literacy is an important component of this right.

Right to inspect the refineries:
    • See security risk audit
      • We should be able to see a record of how/if a company's systems have been hacked. Knowledge of security holes will help the public make decisions in the same way that knowledge of the food safety record of a company (prominently displayed in the restaurant) helps the public make decisions.
    • See privacy burn rate
      • The notion of privacy burn rate is an attempt to figure out how good the developer is. Ideally they are giving out the minimum amount of information necessary. Enough so that a decision can be made but not so much that you lose privacy. They should not give out all of your records from credit to housing for a decision that does not involve that information. That is not a good privacy policy.
      • We should know every time somebody looks at our data because each time they look to learn something about you it diminishes your privacy. When this happens your data is less safe..
      • The notion of burn rate comes from the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). Burn rate means when you take a tree down, you're not just taking it down but it has a long term effect potentially on the ecosystem.
      • For example: when you buy a new car, you now know how efficient the car is, like how many miles per gallon. → Just like that the privacy burn rate should show the efficiency of the refineries.
    • See return-on-data score:
      • We should know about how much, on average, a normal person should get in exchange for data they share with the refinery. Like return-on-investment or ROI. If you share some data, how do you measure that investment you're making and should you get for it in terms of support in your decision making? For example
        • If you give Apple your location, it's not much work for you. But if you carefully checked in, it's much more work for you. Therefore, the return-on-data is about what the perceived effort we are putting in making those data we are sharing is, and how the data the refinery gives back can help you make decisions.
        • When you provide details about yourself to Tinder or Grindr, will you really get good matches back?
      • Some refineries give you more, some give you less.

Rights 3-6: Increase User Agency:
  • Agency means that YOU can act; a company empowers and enables you to act.
  • We are the decision we make, the ways we act. If we just think about what we want, but don’t do anything about it, then we have no agency. Professor Weigend believes very strongly in agency, in empowering people to do things. How can we do it? There are 4 rights for it.

Right to amend:
  • Professor Weigend believes anybody should be able to amend anything (referencing him/ her) in the world.
  • The work it would take to clean data, especially when you don't know the purpose of the data, it would be hopeless. The hundreds of billion of data we create make for a very noisy data pool. As a result different people might have varying opinions of what is relevant and what is not. So instead we should have the right to amend our data.

Right to blur:
  • The best example is spatial blur. If you are a student, faculty, staff member or affiliate UC Berkeley knows exactly where you are at any given point because you are logged in to their network with your devices. You should have the ability to determine the precision of their knowledge about your location. This can be thought of as adjusting how fine grained their knowledge is about your location. This is about at what level of precision they can use the data.
  • This is not something that will happen today, but it's very important. Some people think that others should not be able to collect our data, but when we opt into an app, service, or website, of course they know what you click on.

Right to experiment
  • You should have the ability to set your mode of interaction at explore or exploit.
  • Exploitation means we use something that works for us until we cannot anymore
  • Exploration means to try new thing. For example, companies may try to suggest new music you, and it may not related to your usual style
  • To conclude, this right is about how the decision to explore or exploit should be in the hands of the users to decide what setting works for them.

Right to port
  • We should be able to take our data with us or establish settings under which we want to share. So they know in advance under what circumstances certain types of other entities get our information (for example a graduate school we are applying to might access our transcripts through an API) without our involvement.
  • For example
    • When applying to graduate school, the old way is you go to the registrar's office and they sign and seal and send your transcript or give it to you to send.
    • A better approach might be you tell Berkeley in advance what you want to send to potential graduate programs, like what grade, what semester, etc.

Some Additional Things to Think About

  • Data Literacy: Having a thorough understanding of what we can and cannot do about data or what should and should not be the case for data.
  • Opting Out: There are some forms of data collect you you can no longer opt out. For example:
    • Drones may record what's going on in Berkeley, we cannot hide it
  • Privacy to an extreme: If you withhold all information you cannot use some goods and services. For example:
    • Taxi driver asks for our destination and we do not answer because it affects our privacy
  • Copyright: Universal has robot that helps to look at images that could be copyrighted and tries to take them down. Recently Professor Weigend read a news article about how Universal threatened Disney for copyright without realizing that it was their own content that the robot found out as not copyrighted.
  • Agency: The Cluetrain Manifesto, the authors question how traditional companies see their consumers.
  • Agency: Phil Lader (WPP, former US Ambassador to Court of Saint James’s in London) has wonderful saying: “the world we live in is about cultivating relationships and celebrating individuality”