Through your computer, mobile phone, and other digital devices, you leave behind hundreds of digital traces (also called data traces) every day: bits of information about you that are created, stored, and collected.

When your digital traces are put together to create stories about you or profiles of you, these become your digital shadows. These can give others huge insight into your life; and they can also be totally wrong.


Our Politics of Data programme looks at what it means to live in a world currently suffering from an extreme case of Obsessive Collection Disorder. We're investigating some of the more difficult questions: What exactly are digital shadows? How is our data being collected? Who owns our data? Who controls it? How is it being used? What choices do we have? And, importantly, how is living in this "data society" affecting our political engagement? How will political engagement be affected in future?


The Politics of Data programme also focuses on offering practical advice on how we can take back some control over our personal information, and safeguard our privacy a bit more.

Some steps are relatively small, but make a difference - for example installing free software that blocks trackers when you surf the internet. Some steps involve bigger changes, like reducing the amount of personal information you share with commercial social networks, or using alternative online services.


Our Politics of Data team can often be spotted stirring up discussion on a variety of platforms. In 2014, to take a few examples, we talked about the ethics of data with 350 heads of industry in Germany; worked with students at the Royal College of Art in London; and offered talks and workshops at a number of international events. Alongside this, we continued to work with activists and adovcates working towards social change and protecting human rights, particularly in the Global South.


Our website is currently home to a lot of our Politics of Data work. EXPLORE MYSHADOW.ORG


More results of our research into the data brokerage industry; a guide to how email and how it works; and a few surprises. Watch this space!