Topic 8: Sharing is caring… but only sometimes

Topic 8: Sharing is caring… but only sometimes

Topic 8: Sharing is caring... but only sometimes

Date - 26/10/2019
14:00 - 16:00



  • Niels
  • Janelle
  • Susan & christophe


Join us this month as we navigate our personal boundaries for data sharing. In what situations do we consider it okay to disclose online our personal information (such as our name, location, photos, or credit card details) and how do we arrive at this decision? Is there ever a moral imperative to share?  What structural changes are needed to create a safer sharing environment? Alternatively, is constant vigilance and sharing by exception the best way forward?

The power of data

Increasingly, we are warned about the dangers of leaving a conspicuous electronic footprint in our digital lives.  From revealing our personal retail habits to dominating entire political campaigns, our collective data can create exponential value in the hands of those who are able to use it. However, algorithms that extract meaning from our data can be inadvertently discriminatory and are opaque at best. Additionally, we have only flimsy guarantees that our data wont be leaked. So, are we actually giving away our private data only to have it used against us (whether or not this is deliberate)?

No one is an island…

Sometimes, we intentionally exclude ourselves from the digital universe, and other times we choose to ignore the risks, wilfully giving away our private information in favour of the convenience we get in return.  However, just as living ‘off the grid’ is becoming almost impossible, so too is an entirely offline existence in today’s world. We accept more online terms and conditions than we actually ever read. We allow our photos to be taken at international airport hubs upon every re-entry into the Schengen. More and more people are volunteering their health information to fitness trackers or services such as Google Health, using their personal data as currency for desired services.  These examples are just the tip of the iceberg.

Where do we draw the line?

What guides our decision making in each of these circumstances? If we use location services on our devices, is it only ‘fair’ to pay for this by surrendering to the geo-trackers of giant tech companies? If relinquishing some of our health stats can contribute to the big data that feeds scientific advancements in health research, should we reconsider our compulsion to hide our data offline? Should we always prioritise our personal information security above the opportunities for potentially life-saving research? Is conscious sharing an act of selflessness or mere naïvety in the chaos of today’s digital environment?

An extreme ambivalence in our data culture is becoming normalised.  How can we reconcile this seemingly conflicting behaviour when it comes to participating in an online world? Is it possible or even necessary?


Background reading:

[1] Two examples of how public and private data can be used for good:


[2] Two articles highlighting the dangers of sharing our data:


Venue information

A&S Bücherland have kindly agreed to host this conversation. Attendees are encouraged to make a 5€ contribution to assist with the venue’s running costs. Additionally, the venue has tea and coffee facilities and a selection of drinks are also available for us to purchase.

A&S Bücherland  |  Rintheimer Str. 19  |  76131 Karlsruhe

Venue access:

* If you are taking public transport, the nearest tram stop is Karl-Wilhelm-Platz
* Drivers, most (but not all!) street parking on Rintheimer Strasse is free on Saturdays
* A disability access ramp is available from Rintheimer Strasse but not from Haid-Und-Neu Strasse


Image credit: Photo by Alexander Sinn on Unsplash


Bookings are closed for this event.

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