Sander Klous Features in ‘De Volkskrant’ on Responsible Data Science & Internet

21 Ideas for a Better Internet Proposal to democratize the internet again

De Volkskrant asks scientists from different disciplines for ideas on a ‘Better Internet’ including ADS Senior Researcher Sander Klous (Professor of Big Data Ecosystems for Business and Society, Faculty of Science, University of Amsterdam), see number 8 below on certificates to guarantee privacy. 


Note: Brief summary & translation below, please see full article in ‘De Volkskrant’ HERE (in Dutch)

Want to know more on Responsible Data Science? Come to our Meetups. On 19 October we will have guest speaker Prof. dr. José van Dijck (President Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences)

Further information on our Meetup page and on the Responsible Data Science website


The Internet began as a great democratic experiment, but now a few large companies are supreme. Together they check which music we listen to, what news we read and what advertisements we see. Governments have also colonized the Internet. They use it to store private information on us, on a large-scale, and to disrupt the democratic process at home or abroad.

Instead of the free, powerless network that liberates humanity, the internet threatens to become a platform for manipulation and power. High time to wonder if we can turn the tide… De Volkskrant asked scientists from different disciplines for ideas…


Let the government build its own Facebook. Idea: Ben Crum (Professor of Political Science Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

Problem: Essential infrastructure is owned by private companies.

Solution and explanation: Establish an international public organization that will manage the Internet.


Central Bureau for Internet Statistics. Idea: Aiko Pras (Professor of Internet Security University of Twente)

Problem: Companies and governments save all Internet data from everyone.

Solution and explanation: An independent agency to make clear how data streams run.


Pizzas of own soil. Idea: Wil van der Aalst (Professor of Computer Science Eindhoven University of Technology)

Problem: If the Internet is a pizzeria, the base comes from America.

Solution and explanation: Europe must invest in a homegrown Green Big Data technology… Internet traffic is generated all over the world, but the software is almost all from the U.SDo we do it better in science? No! If you look at the Google Scholar index of most cited ICT scientists, then the entire top ten is American… Almost all students following the data science program in Eindhoven have followed online colleges at American universities… if we do not set up our own courses, our students are trained with ideas from Stanford… In the Netherlands we cannot make pizza bases. We do well with the toppings: many sectors develop applications for the use of big data in the health, energy, transport… We have to make our own pizza bases. That means investing heavily in big data technology… Big Data must be a top sector in itself.


Idea: Jan van Dijk (Professor of Sociology of the Information Society of Twente University)

Problem: Individuals have little impact on vital infrastructure.

Solution: The coalition should include agreements on tackling excesses on the Internet.


Idea: Jelle van Baardewijk (lecturer-PhD student philosophy Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

Problem: The internet is the 21st century Wild West, but digitally and globally.

Solution: Nationalize the internet infrastructure to safeguard the interests of citizens.


Idea: Kris Ruijgrok (PhD student politicology University of Amsterdam)

Problem: authoritarian governments have an increasing influence on the Internet and social media.

Solution: increase to allow companies like Facebook and Twitter make choices in the interests of citizens and not regimes.


Idea: Nart Wielaard (author of the book We Are Big Data (with Prof. Sander Klous)

Problem: Platforms have too much power.

Solution: Fight fake news with decentralized Wikipedia citizen armies.


Idea: Sander Klous (Professor of Big Data Ecosystems University of Amsterdam)

Problem: Most big data applications are a black box.

Solution: A certificate that guarantees the privacy, safety and ethics of learning systems… we have devised marks everywhere in society that ensure to consumers that a product is safe. It is essential that such a thing also happens in internet applications that use big data… How do we know that a smart app that selects applicants does not discriminate against women or minorities? How should we trust that an analytical tool in a hospital makes the correct diagnosis? And how do we know if the apps on our phones guarantee our privacy?


Idea: Andreas Peter (university lecturer computer safety and privacy University of Twente)

Problem: People make their privacy too easy for Internet services.

Solution: Develop and use privacy-aware applications.


Idea: Marjolein Lanzing (PhD ethics and technology Eindhoven University of Technology)

Problem: Unknown algorithms determine what we do or do not get to see.

Solution: Make algorithms transparent to users and ensure that net neutrality is preserved.


Idea: Lonneke van der Velden (postdoctoral researcher data activism and board member Bits of Freedom, University of Amsterdam)

Problem: The dream of an open, shared internet is hijacked by a few companies.

Solution: We need alternative data infrastructures and more digital resilience.


Idea: Patricia de Vries (PhD student at Erasmus University Rotterdam and researcher at the Institute for Network Culture at the University of Amsterdam)

Problem: It’s a myth that human behavior can be reduced to numbers and formulas.

Solution: Stop senseless data collection that reduces us to standard people.


Idea: Jan Smits (professor of law and technology Eindhoven University of Technology)

Problem: People have no idea what personal information they give away when they click “Agree”.

Solution: Contracts must be properly regulated between government and consumers.


Idea: Paul Lange (Professor of Social Psychology Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

Problem: The Internet raises too few barriers against impulsive decisions.

Solution: Enter a mandatory cooling-off period for major purchases or decisions.


Idea: Richard Ponzio (director of Global (Made Lys Albright) Commission Stimson Center Washington)

Problem: Governments in developing countries are extremely vulnerable to cyber attacks.

Solution: A global network of regional centers that help countries protect themselves against cybercrime.


Idea: Jacek Pyzalski (Professor ‘cyberbullying’, specifically among children Uniwersytet im A. Mickiewicza w Poznaniu).

Problem: Perpetrators of cyberbullying often do not even know they are bullying.

Solution: There should be less time spent on describing problems, scientists must actively intervene to combat bullying.


Idea: Tim Schoenmakers (researcher addictions and lifestyles NIVEL).

Problem: Adjusting content to individual users can lead to a dependence on limited content.

Solution: Adjusting the content to individual users to minimize example by tightening privacy rules regarding the storage of personal information and online behavior. 


Idea: Jesse Daniels (Professor of Sociology and Critical Social Psychology City University of New York)

Problem: White nationalists discovered the internet early and know its use.

Solution: Recognize that racism searches maintain and keep neo-Nazi websites outside the results of searches.


Idea: Inger Kuin (post-doc researcher history Anchoring Innovation University of Groningen)

Problem: Increased Internet use leads to social isolation.

Solution: Anchor Internet applications in social interaction.


Idea: Linda Duits (social scientist specializing in popular culture Utrecht University.)

Problem: Citizens think they can do nothing against tech giants.

Solution: Citizens should draw much more radical against the power of tech giants.


Idea: René Mahieu (PhD governance and economics of privacy) and Hadi Asghari (lecturer in governance and economics of privacy) Delft University of Technology

Problem: Managing companies and governments non-transparent way more and more personal data.

Solution: Every citizen has the right to request a review by a data collector of personal data it processes about you.

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