Across the globe, regulating Big Tech is all the rage. Facebook recently backed down against the Australian government’s new law requiring the Silicon Valley giants to pay for news they link to on their sites. India has already introduced a 2% digital services tax on non-resident companies. And even in a highly divided US, Republicans and Democrats agree on one initiative: stopping Facebook, Twitter, Google and Amazon from ripping democracy and competition to shreds.

With a lot less heat but far more substance, the European Commission has gone ahead and drafted several highly ambitious pieces of legislation that are meant…


As the launch of the Data Unions 2.0 framework draws near we thought we’d do a roundup of all that has happened on the Data Union front for the last 12 months.

This time last year, just as the lockdown was about to hit a good proportion of countries around the globe, Streamr settled on its annual strategy. We would build out the Data Union ecosystem whilst continuing to work away at our main vision: a P2P pub/sub Network for real-time messaging. There were two major business reasons for this. The first was: Data Unions utilise the Network, and thus…


1). How are Data Unions ethically different from Big Tech, seeing as they are trading user data? Yes users can consent, but why get involved in this sordid industry at all

Firstly, consent is a big deal. At the moment, the data broking industry does not work on the basis of informed and overt consent. People are pressured into signing away permissions which are themselves buried on page 34, subsection B of a 62-page contract. It’s fake consent. Just shifting that, to make the whole transaction overt and informed — what we’d call rich consent — massively changes the ethical basis for engagement.

Secondly, not all data monetisation is about individual targeting. I think that’s where most of the ethical issues arise. I sell data about myself, ‘Shiv Malik’, so that…


Streamr’s Head of Growth, Shiv Malik recently held an AMA on Data Unions for the GAINS Telegram community. Their questions led to an insightful discussion that we’ve condensed into this blog post.

What is the project about in a few simple sentences?

At Streamr we are building a real-time network for tomorrow’s data economy. It’s a decentralized, peer-to-peer network which we are hoping will one day replace centralized message brokers like Amazon’s AWS services. On top of that, one of the things I’m most excited about is Data Unions. With Data Unions anyone can join the data economy and start earning money from the data they already produce. …


In May, I published a lengthy essay on why, for ordinary individuals, privacy was dead and how a framework of data ownership would provide not just more privacy, but also much more data sharing, economic equality and dignity for the billions of people who use the internet.

The essay sparked a fairly passionate response on social media from those who advocate for a privacy-centric world. I had anticipated more than a bit of blow-back, especially because despite the first essay’s length, many points about the ownership model remained unanswered. That is my failing, which I hoped to rectify with this…


Do people care about privacy?

In May 2012, I made national news in the UK. In protest over Facebook’s $100bn IPO, I deleted my account, and this was a sufficient offence to warrant being hauled into a TV studio. When asked to explain myself, I replied: “I didn’t want to be an infoslave any more.” Facebook, I argued, had turned us all into data production factories. Enough was enough. “To see, in a sense, this $100bn dollar value created out of people’s shared dreams and hopes and discussions and pictures — that seems to be a step too far. …


Free-to-use app gives developers and data scientists rapid insights and easy smart contract integration without needing to establish separate backend infrastructure.

Developers and data scientists working with real-time data will now be able to use an innovative free toolkit to leverage the power of smart contracts with complete ease.

Released today, the Streamr project’s open source app, Core, allows organisations who lack specialist Web3 programming skills to freely experiment with getting real-world events to automatically trigger monetary payments.

Core is seamlessly integrated into the project’s open data Marketplace and a dedicated backend data streaming network, so that programmers and data science teams will be able to fetch, push and sell new data products with total convenience.

Bypassing the need for specialist…


Modules in the newly developed Firefox plugin, identifying which sites you can gather and sell data from.

Changing the data economy is one of the most urgent conversations people around the globe are having at the moment. Just last month, for example, in this incredibly powerful TED Talk, my former journalistic colleague Carole Cadwalladr, articulated just how dangerously flawed our current data economy is. But these debates have largely been centred around political responses to problems which software has created. Now it is time for technologists to step up and solve those problems for themselves.

The Streamr community has been talking about crowdselling data and forming data unions since at least the end of 2018. That planning…


The opening of the RadicalxChange Conference in Detroit in late March

The way personal data is managed and profited from is a topic that is undoubtedly moving up the political agenda. In February, California’s Governor proposed doling out the proceeds of the information industry with a ‘data dividend’. US Senator Elizabeth Warren has suggested that the government not only break up tech giants but hold their CEOs criminally liable when breaches of data occur. These ideas, which might have seemed well outside the Overton window just a few years ago, appear to be gaining traction in an international legislative milieu, already fired up by the introduction of Europe’s GDPR.

There is…


The space: we can get together, but can we get it together?

I’ll start with a personal story. Just over a decade ago, when I was a freelance journalist, three police officers from the Greater Manchester police terrorism unit came knocking at my door. When I asked why they had shown up at my flat, they told me they wanted to talk to me about the book I was in the middle of writing. Not the kind of thing you’d expect to hear in a democracy, where the writing of books should never be the concern of the police.

After I let them in, they served me with a draft order instructing…

Shiv Malik

CEO of Pool Foundation instigating Data Unions. Author. Broadcaster. Former investigative journalist. Passionate about economics, decentralization & mutualism.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store