Contemporary societies face a central challenge: the production and appropriation of the data they produce. Data is the new oil, one of the resources that move contemporary informational, cognitive and surveillance capitalism. In other words: they are a basic resource of capitalism today. In recent years, the popularization of digital platforms (particularly corporate social networks), together with advances in the development of methods of data capture and processing, has enabled the extraction and application of that information in new forms of social engineering and biopower. Under the current extractivist paradigm, these technologies and the data, knowledge and their resulting applications, are concentrated in a very small number of hands. The DECODE project proposes an alternative paradigm, in which both technologies and data are constructed as commons managed by those who produce them.
The project aims to develop distributed architecture technologies, based on blockchain, that allow users to keep total control over their data and the technologies they use, while favoring collaborative economy models that are truly democratic and peer-to-peer. The common data paradigm sponsored by DECODE connects with a political, economic and legal regime that recognizes social and community rights to data. Communities, neighborhoods and cities should be able to control them and build alternative local economies to platforms such as Uber or Airbnb and their extractive logics. This opens up the possibility of building other models of technology, economy and society.