Aral Balkan

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‘Facebook, Google face first GDPR complaints over ‘forced consent’’

“Schrems argues that the companies are using a strategy of “forced consent” to continue processing the individuals’ personal data — when in fact the law requires that users be given a free choice unless a consent is strictly necessary for provision of the service.”

Also on our radar:

Right, so I’ve narrowed down the isomorphic JavaScript database options for Indie Site to three candidates:

1. Dexie.js with IndexedDBShim in Node
2. nanoSQL (uses LevelDB adapter in Node)
3. LevelUp (with level.js in browser and leveldown in Node)

Not considering: PouchDB (will be implementing my own replication/CRDT)

Any other possibilities I’m missing? Basically, although a “web site”, the Web client and server will act very much like a node in a p2p network.

Bug with auto-incrementing primary keys under Node with the LevelDB adapter fixed in nanoSQL (thanks Scott).

Very much looking forward to taking part in Waag’s Public Stack Summit in June.

“We’ll set our sails for open water to fix the broken internet. An unconference with over 50 public stack pioneers, during We Make The City festival in Amsterdam

With recent attention on the dark side of surveillance capitalism and data extractivism it has become inevitable to invest in open, fair and inclusive internet … the internet needs to be fixed.”

I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole of Conflict-Free Replicated Data Types (CRDTs)…

Flying to Copenhagen tomorrow to take part in and present the closing keynote at UX Camp CPH on Friday.

Is Gmail’s new “confidential mode” really confidential?

Sent a little video on Gmail’s new “confidential mode” (hint: not “confidential” and, no, Google hasn’t changed its business model) to Al Jazeera English for today’s Newsgrid programme. Segment airs in the 2nd half of this hour.

You can watch Newsgrid live from

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congratulations capitalism, you reinvented feudalism

Speaking at Nesta FutureFest in July

I’ll be talking about how we can move beyond surveillance capitalism in Europe to fund and create alternative ethical technological infrastructure that’s not mired in Silicon Valley’s toxic business model.

Smart Citizens, not Smart Cities

Tune in tomorrow at 14:15 CEST for the Eurocities meeting livestream to watch my keynote titled “Smart Citizens, not Smart Cities” and learn about the work we’re doing with The City of Ghent.

(And here are a few slides to whet your appetites…) ;)

Mastodon feature request: Duplicate toot (duplicates your toot into the edit area, along with any attachments and alt text for images, etc.)

Use case: to fix a typo on a toot and reissue it easily.

Smart Citizens not Smart Cities

On Tuesday, I’m presenting a keynote at the Eurocities Knowledge Society Meeting in Ghent on our work with The City of Ghent in Belgium that aims to empower the citizens of Ghent with free and open, federated, and interoperable technology that they own and control.

Whenever you hear the “smart” prefix, ask “who is getting smarter about whom?”

Our work with The City of Ghent aims to enable citizens to become smarter about themselves.

Best part of this article about my talk today at (as far as I can tell from machine translations): “Resumé asked Google and Facebook for a response. Both declined.”

(Worst part: that photo. My goodness!) ;)

Our work with the City of Ghent on our Indienet project ( gets a shout out in this month’s New Scientist, in Jacob Aron’s article titled “Stop being the product.”

“On the face of it, [it] sounds a lot like the old web, where people created simple pages hosted on computers they controlled. The crucial difference is that it used to be difficult to put things online without technical know-how – which is partly why easy-to-use services like Facebook are popular.”

“Today at Facebook [art] works to create the illusion that the public sphere and the firm are one and the same. It is precisely this illusion on which surveillance capitalism depends.” – Fred Turner

This is spot on and an engrossing read on how surveillance capitalism works to legitimise itself via its aesthetics.

Via @charlyblack

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great #essay on how "surveillance-based for-profit media such as Facebook" are co-opting artistic narratives:

"The arts at Facebook: An aesthetic infrastructure for surveillance
by Fred Turner

The Universal Declaration of Cyborg Rights ( gets a shout out in Cosmos Magazine:

(Although the focus of the article is on the traditional/sci-fi definition of cyborg that’s limited to people with implanted technology whereas I argue that anyone who uses modern technology today is a cyborg. That distinction has important implications for personhood in the digital and networked age. See:

This week, I return to the belly of the beast to present at NextM in Stockholm. Last time, in Helsinki, Google got so pissed off they demanded they not go after me in Sweden. Let’s see if they influence the content of the events they sponsor or not… ;)