MyData 2017, Hack your heritage and other updates from Open Knowledge Finland.

This blog post is part of our summer series featuring chapter updates from across the Open Knowledge Network and was written by the team of Open Knowledge Finland.

It’s been a busy start to the 5th year of Open Knowledge Finland as it coincides with the celebration of Finland’s 100 years of independence and 250+ years of Freedom of Information. We have so much to update about! We promise it is a good read!

MyData & GDPR – new digital rights coming up!

MyData 2017 Conference is being prepared as we speak. A Programme team of over 40 people is working night and day (no exaggeration, we operate from various time zones) to make the conference happen. The event, held in Helsinki and Tallinn on Aug 30 – Sep 1, will address various aspects of MyData and digital human rights – GDPR, Ethics, Consent, interoperability, and privacy.Read more details here. The program was just published live tMay 3rd, and early-bird tickets sales just started! Get your ticket and subscribe to the low-volume newsletter at http://mydata2017.org/!

If you would like to help with hands-on organising or with creative planning tasks, the core organising team hosts weekly Talkoot events – read more and please join us here. We would especially like to have OK chapters as communication hubs so as to get participants and volunteers for the conference and to get participants and program proposals for the conference. Last year we had visitors from 24 countries – can we do even more this year?! We award volunteers with free access to the conference – so don’t miss this opportunity!

This year’s main conference partner is the Finnish Population Register Centre. As an institution, they hold the very core personal data about every Finn; making them a vital partner. Population Register Centre is also working closely with the Ministry of Finance on a MyData-inspired pilot project and the necessary mechanisms that are needed to include MyData ideology in their Suomi.fi services. Contact the MyData 2017 team at hello@mydata.org.

P.S. If you’re wondering about the relation of MyData and open data, check out Rufus Pollock’s excellent talk at MyData 2016:

and take a peek at OK Japan, who are organising a 400-person side event in May!

Finland is 100 years! So we’re hacking our cultural heritage in May

The 3rd Hack4FI – Hack your heritage brings together artists, programmers, designers, humanists, educators and others interested in digital cultural heritage and multi-professional collaboration between 5th – 7th May 2017 at YLE (Finnish Broadcasting Corporation) to create new cultural works, services and concepts in an international and inspirational surroundings.

Participants can explore with virtual technology, remix archival films, travel through time (!) by choosing one of the hosted tracks or choose their own directions and do with the material whatever they like!  Hack4FI 2017 hackathon will be organised in co-operation with AvoinGlam network and YLE whose premises will serve as the venue for the event together with partners in the GLAM sector. We expect some 80-100 hackers again!

Follow #Hack4FI//hack4.fi or contact Sanna [sanna.marttila@okf.fi] to get involved and for information.

Is it bedtime for democracy? We’d like to think not! [Hacking the future of democracy]

What does democracy look like in ten years? How can we increase people’s participation? Join Democracyhack to work on solutions and provoke discussion around democracy, participation and politics in future Finland! Open knowledge Finland, in conjunction with the Tulevaisuuden valtiopäivät event (Future Parliament) and the Finnish Independence Fund – Sitra are organising a democracy seminar and hackathon Democracyhack from  4th – 5th May. The hackathon is open to all, even non-Finnish speakers participants!  Contact the Democracyhack team [democracyhack@okf.fi] for more information.

Creating a lobby register in Finland – our FOI work continues

OKFI just received a grant from The Helsingin Sanomat Foundation to work on the freedom of information. Our first task is to open the data on meetings with Finnish civil servants and members of Parliament so they can be used by journalists, researchers, activists and other non-governmental organisations. The Parliamentary visitors’ log was classified as public information by the Supreme Administrative Court on 20.12.2016, in a case, the Open Ministry took to court. The decision is crucial in helping to identify the extent of lobbying towards Parliament – and later, in other ministries, public bodies and authorities.

The next step will be creating transparency in the comprehensive and systematic collection of data through freedom of information requests, as well creating a database out of its responses. We are working together with the Data Protection Ombudsman to determine which data are not publishable (for example, family members or other representatives will not be published). Some personal guest information will be released after appropriately anonymizing the data (e.g. for statistical purposes). The data is published using the open CC-BY 4.0 license, so scientists, journalists and others can use it.

Our goal is to produce data visualisations, that concisely indicate connections between the visitors and the drafting of laws. We also aim to produce a short report about practical experiences and challenges in the systematic gathering of information based on freedom of information requests.

Monitoring hate speech in municipal elections 

As we headed towards the local elections, the topic of online hate speech once again raised its ugly head. So, we are learning and testing tools for hate speech by monitoring about 6,000 candidates, out of total 33,000 – using open data and artificial intelligence to analyse tweets and posts by the candidates. Social media posts were analysed in real time by an AI algorithm. If the messages were predicted to contain hate speech, messages were forwarded to the Non-discrimination Ombudsman. There, employees analysed the posts, and if they confirmed the content as hate speech, they contacted the political party in question (all parties had signed a European agreement against discrimination) or, in some cases, the public prosecutor. Unfortunately, some candidates will be taken to court for their racist misbehaviour.

This was a pilot project in partnership with The Finnish Non-discrimination Ombudsman, Finnish League for Human Rights, Ministry of Justice / Ethnic relations (ETNO), Academy of Finland Research projects from University of Helsinki, Aalto University and Tampere University (HYBRA, Citizens in the Making), Open Knowledge Finland, Futurice and others! Final results are due in May, the elections were held early in April. The source code is available at https://github.com/futurice/spice-hate_speech_detection/

Other activities and projects that may be of interest

Citizen science – recommendations to the Ministry of Education and Culture

Citizen science has most notably, been used as a method for creating observational data for life science research. Against the backdrop of current technological advancement, we need to create Citizen Science v 2.0 – open, diverse, responsible, dialogic and academically excellent. Regarding outcomes, we envision a set of concrete recommendations for national stakeholders; we will create understanding, awareness and discussion about citizen science as a scientific method and community; and we will catalyse a research agenda for a new kind of open citizen science. Contact: heidi.laine@okf.fi for more information. You can also watch a youtube video about the project here [in Finnish]:

For more information about the Citizen Science, see The European Citizen Science Association (ECSA) website.

Protesting against the rising costs of scientific publishing 

Major international scientific publishers are currently enjoying remarkable profit margins. The scientific community produces research, usually publicly funded, edits the publications as unpaid volunteers, and then buys back the scientific publications. Publishers have increased the price of publications significantly year by year although in this digital era the trend should be the opposite. Through FOI requests and court cases by OKFI, we found out just how bad the situation was.

Now, seven active Open Science enthusiasts gathered support for the cause in Finland – and as a result, some 2800 academics are declining to peer review scientific journals, until proper agreements are held, and the situation is in control. This is a pan-European topic, and collaboration here could be fruitful, also within the Open Knowledge family. Contact Heidi [Heidi.laine@okf.fi] and read more here: http://tiedonhinta.fi/en/

Government’s analysis, assessment and research activities

Open Knowledge Finland delivered its first two commissioned projects for the Government’s analysis, evaluation and research activities, coordinated by the Prime Minister’s Office.

  1. Together with ETLA (Research Institute of the Finnish Economy), we implemented a project called “cost-effective utilisation of open data”. The project’s goal was to better understand and measure the impacts of open data and the use of the necessary public registers. We studied the relationship between the use of open data in companies and their innovation production and financial success. Furthermore, we proposed 10 concrete means of increasing the impact of open data in our society. Read the report here.
  2. In partnership with the National Institute of Health and Welfare (THL) and Oxford Research, we implemented the Yhtäköyttä project (Common Knowledge Practices for Research and Decision Making). The project studied how to support evidence-based decision-making with wide participation. The objective was to design a systematic method with roles, practices, information structures and IT infrastructure that support each other. Read more about it here.

Unfortunately, information on both projects is not available in English.

MyData Muutosvoimana

MyData Muutosvoimana (“MyData as a force of change”) is a new project launched under the stewardship of Aleksi Knuutila.

The project seeks to create modes of operation for opening up Finnish public administration data by MyData principles.

Other OKFI plans in 2017

Stuff we are working on: Creative Commons, Open Data Business cases, the impact of open data…and much more. For a comprehensive insight of Open Knowledge Finland, kindly have a look at http://www.Okf.fi/general.

A new board & chairman for 2017

The start of 2017 saw a few organisational shifts and rule changes in OKFI to allow for scaling and more efficient operations for the future. We will now organise two general meetings per year. We also held our autumn meeting in December and voted for the new board to lead our efforts in 2017 – making this the second time within a year the board was elected :)!

Previous vice chairman Mika Honkanen took the lead as of January 1, 2017. Best wishes to Mika! Other re-elected previous board members are Susanna Ånäs, Liisi Soroush, Jessica Parland-von Essen, Raoul Plommer, Mikael Seppälä. And, nice to have two new members of the board, Aki Saariaho and Oskari Lappalainen!

The long-term chairman Antti Jogi Poikola stepped aside as the lead – but thankfully continues as the treasurer (as an external advisor to the board) – and of course as one of the leading masterminds and visionaries on MyData. Congratulations to all!

New employees – new office!

Viivi Lähteenoja started as MyData 2017 producer (1-10/2017) and Aleksi Knuutila started as project manager for MyData Muutosvoimana (1-9/2017).

Teemu continues as full-time (executive director), just starting his third year. Sanna Marttila continues as part-time project manager (Creative Commons support -project, Hack4FI 2017 -project).

Pia Adibe’s contract was extended, as she continues to steer our HR and Finance management. Liisi Soroush, Mikael Seppälä, Aki Saariaho, Raimo Muurinen, Kari Hintikka and Salla Thure are also employed in a 1-6 month part-time jobs.

We have submitted over 10 different project proposals this year – so we sure hope some funding is coming our way. New ideas always welcome – get in touch with teemu.ropponen@okf.fi

We also just relocated! Our new office is at Maria 0-1 startup centre, not far from the centre of Helsinki – a former hospital that now houses well over 300 people. It is exciting to be part of the Maria 01 community, where every day is a buzz!

Read More: Blog posts in English

Rebooting nations – what would states and democracy look like if we invented them today? In a series of democracy and Democracyhack-related posts, this one looks at what we in welfare states could learn from the libertarian, tech-loving anarcho-capitalists of Liberland!

Why Design for Data? Design for Data is one of our topics at Open Knowledge Finland. If interested, join the Design for Data Facebook group.

Collaborate with Open Knowledge Finland

We have submitted over 10 different project proposals, including work with OK Germany and OK Greece – so we sure hope some exciting cross-border work is coming our way. New ideas for collaboration always welcome – get in touch!

For any further information on OKFI activities, kindly contact raoul.plommer@okf.fi (international activities contact point) and/or teemu.ropponen@okf.fi (Executive Director). Follow OKFI at @okffi (https://twitter.com/OKFFI).