October 9, 2018 Isadora

An EU-funded project, led by the Technology and Innovation Office of Barcelona and co-delivered by 14 other European partners; develops tech that returns privacy and data-sovereignty to individuals.

[work in progress]

Mission and Purpose

The consortium critiques the capitalist business models of corporations that use of open, free and sharable data against citizen privacy and surveillance online and physically (internet of things, IoT). The goal is to build services that give proportionate and controlled access to code-writters with explicit consent from users through cryptographic technologies like blockchain. 


Participant Selection

DECODE’s consortium members are from Spain, the Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, France and the UK. Francesca Bria, Barcelona Chief Technology and Innovation Officer is the project coordinator. 

Specializations and Activities

Decode specializes in building and distributing technological tools for consumer and community engagement that retains privacy.

Major projects and events

Four European pilot projects are creating platforms and tools that let individuals take back their personal information. They are distributed in Barcelona and in Amsterdam for now.
Barcelona 's iDigital / BCNow Platform pilot. This pilot partner with Barcelona City Council and the city’s digital democracy platform Decidim.Barcelona, to allow citizen-generated data to be aggregated and blended from a range of different sources, including noise levels from individual sensors, healthcare data, and administrative open data. This will be displayed in a BCNow dashboard, and will give citizens the option to control the use of that information for specific purposes, including to inform policy proposals. It will also provide anonymous verification capabilities (such as when creating and signing local petitions) to minimise the sharing of sensitive of personally identifiable data with the city council.

Barcelona 's #MakingSense Internet of Things pilot. Residents will be given noise sensors that are placed in the neighbourhood. DECODE will provide sessions to train and support participants to help them setup and use the  sensors to gather and analyse data to influence city-level decisions. The pilot tackles the technical challenges of collating and storing a stream of citizen-sensed data, while also enabling those citizens to control what information is shared. It builds on a local project, Making Sense, which was established in 2016 and has been co-funded by the European Commision.

Amsterdam's Holiday rental register pilot. This responds to sharing economy platforms such as Airbnb which have caused disruption in cities such as Amsterdam by pushing up the the price of rents, while legal rules around privacy have prevented effective sharing of occupancy data about hosts who break local legislation. The pilot involves collaboration with the Amsterdam Municipality and the FairBnB platform — which was started to provide a more sustainable solution for short-let accommodation, and reinvests profits back into local initiatives. DECODE will provide statistics and regulatory information to enable the community to govern the platform without compromising participants’ privacy.

Amsterdam's Gebiedonline (Neighbourhood Online) pilot.Gebiedonline is a pre-existing co-operative digital platform that enables local people, groups and organisations to view events taking place in their neighbourhood, share news, exchange and borrow products and services, and to meet people. Amsterdam City Council is keen to spread this to other locations across the city and leverage the platform to increase involvement with policy and decision-making. It provides an opportunity for DECODE to test a more privacy-preserving local social network, with granular controls so that residents can decide what information they share.


 DECODE is funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 (Project no. 732546).

 It is a three-year project, running between January 2017 and December 2019. In total €5m will be paid to the 14 consortium members undertaking the work. This is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020). It is a flagship initiative aimed at securing Europe's global competitiveness. 


Decode has multiple reports derived from its research[2], as well as basic definitions for its projects. Materials include prototype tools, pilot background research, legal licensing, rules, privacy requirements for projects, and policy documents, templates for methodology and co-creation frameworks, and a survey on blockchain technology.

Secondary Sources

External Links

[1] What is blockchain? (and other terms)