Data (De)colonization: Case of the “Safe City” Project in Belgrade
Sammanfattning: In my thesis, I follow the argument of the authors belonging to the school of decoloniality, who explore the phenomena of coloniality of power outside of historical colonialism. This gives me the freedom to look through decolonial lances into phenomena of undergoing colonization through data. By following the idea that data colonialism is a reality, not just a metaphor, I examined how data colonialism occurs in the “Safe City” project in Belgrade. Furthermore, I analyzed how different actors are influenced by data colonialism and how a group of activists challenges the ongoing top-down process of datafication. I used a single case study research design, using documents and articles on the internet as secondary data sources. Primary sources were semi-structured interviews with experts and advocates for digital rights who are challenging datafication. Results indicate that colonization can happen if and when datafication begins through the centralized infrastructure for biometric data extraction and that beneficiaries of this process are most likely to be found in the political elite and private companies. At the same time, decolonization is practiced by activists through research and data collection, raising awareness, and community mobilization.
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