HDI and the NetworkPlus

Human Data Interaction (HDI) is an ethical framework for designing systems that collect and process personal data. There is a lot of rhetoric about ethical frameworks for the design of such systems, but very little of this has been practically oriented, i.e. giving clear help to designers considering how to design a system so as to make its data collection, processing and sharing understandable and useful to those whose data is collected, processed and shared. HDI is such a practically oriented framework. Its core tenets go beyond the narrow or short-sighted focus on ‘transparency’—a concept that side-steps difficult questions such as whether people can really understand a complex system made transparent, and what they can actually do about them. (This page offers more about HDI.)

The HDI NetworkPlus is a consortium of universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Nottingham, and Goldsmiths and Imperial Colleges (London). U. Glasgow is the hub. The network runs from July 2018 to September 2021, and is organised around a set of nine themes, each of which involves a number of practical projects funded via the network. Six of these themes are active (and listed via the dropdown above), the Ethics and Data theme is in the process of launching (via its call for projects that we can fund), and the last two due to launch in the next few months.

Network News

Surveillance and Resistance theme call for projects launched

A new theme was launched on July 29th, with a call for research projects that address the issue of resistance against data surveillance in a practical and demonstrable way, by developing technical solutions, provocations or experimental explorations. More information is here.

Ethics & Data theme call closes

We are calling for research and development proposals exploring concepts, provocations and solutions related to the moral challenges posed by data-driven systems. More information on this project theme is available here. We have revised the deadline to give a two week extension to 24th July. 

The Art, Music and Culture theme funds 10 projects

Following a funding call framed by the output of a workshop run at (and in collaboration with) Somerset House, this theme has set up a broad portfolio of projects, applying HDI tenets in areas ranging from live performance to issues of spectatorship and consumption of digital media. More on these projects is here.

Project work begins in the IoT, System Design and the Law theme

Three projects have now been set up to explore legal, social and technical issues, as seen through the lens of HDI.  The Trust in Home: Rethinking Interface Design in IoT (THRIDI) project, from U. Brunel, deals with personal agency with regard to IoT devices in the home; Governing Philosophies in Technology Policy: Permissionless Innovation vs. the Precautionary Principle, from U. Bangor and the Internet Privacy Forum, advancing discussion of future harms and the discussion of long term governance; and Who, then, in law is my neighbour? – Judgment, responsibility, and expectations of the onlife reality, from U. Winchester, which re-assesses the common law right to privacy, as applied to the design of data-intensive systems. More on these projects is here.

The Future of Mental Health theme’s project work begins

The ExTRA-PPOLATE (Explainable Therapy Related Annotations: Patient & Practitioner Oriented Learning Assisting Trust & Engagement) project is beginning, in work jointly supported by the UKRI eNurture network on young people’s mental health. More detail here.

Three new projects starting up in the Beyond ‘Smart Cities’ theme

As described further in the theme page, we have three projects starting up: More-than-human data interactions in the smart city, Dr. Sara Heitlinger (City University) et al.; Data negotiability in multi-mode communication networks, Dr. Poonam Yadav (U. York) et al., and BREATHE — IoT in the WildDr Katharine Willis (U. Plymouth) et al. The latter has particular relevance to the COVID situation, dealing as it does with creating agency for people with breathing-related health problems in rural communities.

Cut off date for HDI-funded projects extended

We realise that the current situation will affect project timelines, particularly of new projects just launched, and those of themes we are in the process of launching. Thus we have decided to extend the cut-off date – by which your project has to finish – to 9th June, 2021.

New guidelines for research projects funded under HDI NetworkPlus

There is new advice on ways of working from your own institutions, and UKRI have posted advice already. We recognise that many of you had scheduled to conduct participant research, and that in some cases you will not be able to carry out this work in the current climate. We recognise and accept this, and will support you as best we can towards the completion of your project. Please keep us up to date if you want to conduct alternative activities or adjust timelines.

If you are planning interviews, focus groups design sessions and the like please remember that they will be have to be done virtually in the short term, and that this might have to be a ‘plan B’ if this situation lasts longer than we hope. We do not know how long this is going to go on, but we do not wish your project to be a hostage to fortune.