International Network on Digital Self-Determination

Our mission

Digital Self-Determination seeks to empower individuals and communities to decide how their data is managed in ways that benefit themselves and society. Translating this principle into practice requires an international network that brings together diverse perspectives and expertise. Our network connects different actors from around the world to consider how to apply Digital Self-Determination in real-life settings to inform both theory and practice

Read the concept note

Our main objectives are the following:

  • Inform policy development;
  • Accelerate the creation of new DSD processes and technologies;
  • Estabilish new professions that can help implement DSD (such as data stewards);
  • Contribute to the regulatory and policy debate;
  • Raise awareness and build bridges between the public and private sector and data subjects.

Moving from Principle to Practice

The International Network on Digital Self-Determination is spearheading the transition from principles to practice in various contexts. To achieve this, the network has developed a work plan focused on transforming DSD from a mere principle to actionable strategies. This plan is centered around three primary fields of action:

Action Field 1

Designing and clarifying DSDĀ 

Theory formation: conceptualizing and deepening the notion of self-determination, both digital and non-digital

Foundational framework for DSD: working towards establishing common understanding and an action-oriented framework for building new DSD processes, policies, professions and infrastructures

Action Field 2

Implementing and operationalizing DSD

Use cases: operationalizing the concept of DSD by illustrating its meaning and value in our everyday life with concrete examples

Prototyping solutions: experimenting new processes, policies and technologies that can generate a social license for data re-use and can enable DSD

Training new professions: developing a new curriculum and training program for data stewards and other professions that can enable DSD

Developing international guidelines: developing a set of principles to assist data space operators to establish and run trustworthy dataspaces

Formulating pathways to practice: stakeholders need to be provided with action plans that enable the application of DSD to be driven by motivations that are clearly stated, have good grounding, and measurable outcomes

Action Field 3

Communicating and advocating DSD

Dialogue on DSD: facilitating conversations that will inform future policy discussions on how to create trustworthy data spaces and entice responsible innovation

Representation and capacity building: engaging in international capacity-building efforts aimed at knowledge-building and skill-sharing among diverse actors across the world

Reflection on DSD contextual applications: identifying the commonalities and differences of the use-case experiences, guidelines and the pathways to practice, to inform the critical development of DSD as a global regulatory and governance frame

Core team

Who Are We

The network comprises leading experts from academia, public and private sector committed to understanding the potential of Digital Self-Determination.

Core Partners

Brigitte Benoit Landale

Deputy Head of Section, Directorate of International Law, Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs

Fanny Pulver

Legal Officer, Directorate of International Law, Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs

Mark Findlay

KAS Professorial Research Fellow, Honorary Senior Research Fellow (British Institute of International and Comparative Law)

Roger Dubach

Deputy Director, Directorate of International Law, Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs

Stefaan G. Verhulst

Co-Founder and Chief Research and Development Officer, The GovLab, New York University

Project Partners

Bishakha Datta

Executive Director, Point of View

Claude Kamau

Lecturer and Research Fellow, Strathmore University

Elisabeth Sylvan

Managing Director, Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University

Fabro Steibel

Executive Director, Institute for Technology and Society

Jason Grant Allen

Director, Centre for AI & Data Governance, Singapore Management University

Jonas Brunschwig

CEO and Consul General at Swissnex in India, Consulate General of Switzerland

Noha Halim

Research Assistant, PhD Candidate, TUM School of Social Sciences and Technology, Technical University of Munich

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

Zhang Wenxi

Research Assistant, Centre for AI & Data Governance, Singapore Management University