WORKSHOP: Data Politics, Data Markets & the Internet of Things

Reversal of Fortune: The Garden of Virtual Kinship (2016) Stephanie Rothenberg (see
Wednesday, November 30, 2016 - 10:30 to 15:30
Rooms 316 & 317, 3rd floor, Eolas Building, North Campus, Maynooth University, Maynooth, Co Kildare

Join a range of international and local experts from different disciplines to explore the role out of applications and services based on the Internet of Things in Ireland, and discuss the potential social, political, business and technical implications. The workshop event will be facilitated by Linda Doyle (TCD), Jessica Foley (TCD), Anne Helmond (Univ of Amsterdam), Aphra Kerr (MU), Rob Kitchin (MU),  David Malone (MU), Liz McFall (Open University, UK) and Rachel O’Dwyer (TCD). (Bios Below). Make links across disciplines and see what is the state of the art in current theory and research. 


While a vast network of smart, sentient and autonomous devices may seem for many to still be the purview of Science Fiction, with the development of low energy mobile networks, cheap sensors, IPV6 and cloud storage, the Internet of Things (IoT) is fast becoming a reality. Today many everyday objects are being redesigned to include sensors, actuators, computational intelligence and telecommunications.

The OECD recently estimated that there will be as many as 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020. The development of a network of interconnected physical objects with the ability to sense, respond and act on their environment, coupled to new forms of cloud storage and data analytics, is producing an abundance of data. On the one hand, this data has applications for the public good, improving public services such as transport and healthcare, managing utilities and facilitating new forms of public participation. On the other, the rise of IoT also raises concerns about the kinds of governance and commercial business models currently being developed around this data, in marketing; media and games; risk and insurance; and security.

This research workshop aims to foster interdisciplinary dialogue by bringing together researchers from the fields of engineering, computer science and mathematics who are currently working on IoT projects with researchers from the social sciences, including sociology, geography, business and law.

In particular this workshop aims to bring together a number of international academics with researchers based in the SFI funded Connect centre in MU and TCD, the ERC funded Programmable Cities project in MU and researchers based in the newly established MUSSI institute. Other interested researchers (postgraduate, postdoctorate, staff, other) are also invited to attend. 

This topic raises critical social questions in relation to dataveillance, civic agency and citizenship. These include basic requests for factual information about a relatively new space, exploratory research questions about data ownership, data ethics, and the politics of automated transactions and trades in data and methodological questions about how we map this space and produce transdisciplinary research.

Some of the questions we’d like to address are:

  • Who are the key stakeholders and platform intermediaries in IoT?
  • What or who constitutes a data owner in the IoT ecosystem?
  • What business models are emerging around the monetisation of data, advertising and credit and risk assessment?
  • What will IoT data exchanges look like?/ Is IoT data a new currency? 
  • What are the potential implications for citizens in relation to dataveillance, data discrimination, privacy and new forms of algorithmic governance driven by IoT data?
  • What are some of the ethical implications surrounding automated data markets and exchanges?
  • How might individual and nuanced permissions be negotiated around IoT data?
  • What are the potential implications for policy makers? 
  • How do we develop approaches to the study of this space?
  • How can we foster inter and transdisciplinary research? 
  • Some readings will be circulated in advance to facilitate interdisciplinary discussions.


The workshop event will be facilitated by Linda Doyle, Jessica Foley, Anne Helmond, Aphra Kerr, Rob Kitchin, Liz McFall and Rachel O’Dwyer. Others TBC. See bios below. 

Attendees will read some short papers in advance and the format will involve short presentations and small group discussions.

Who can attend:

This workshop is open to postgraduate researchers, research fellows, academics and industry partners to attend.

How to attend:

Please fill out this google form with some personal details and a few lines about your interest in the workshop. Attendance is free with thanks to our sponsors. 

If you have questions please contact or

We will be in touch about the format and with some readings to help you prepare. 

Speakers and Organisers

Linda Doyle is the Director of CONNECT and Professor of Engineering and The Arts in Trinity College Dublin. Prof. Doyle was also the Director of CTVR, the precursor to CONNECT. Her expertise is in the fields of wireless communications, cognitive radio, reconfigurable networks, spectrum management and creative arts practices.

Jessica Foley is a Post-Doctoral Artistic Researcher with CONNECT. Her PhD research with CTVR (now CONNECT) developed the concept and methodology of Inreach as a counterpoint and complement to public engagement in STEM.
Anne Helmond is Assistant Professor of New Media & Digital Culture and Program Director of the MA New Media & Digital Culture at the University of Amsterdam. She is a member of the Digital Methods Initiative research collective where she focuses her research on the infrastructure of social media platforms and apps. Her research interests include digital methods, software studies, platform studies and app studies.
Aphra Kerr is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology in Maynooth University and Director of the MA in Sociology (Internet and Society). Her research focuses on emerging market logics in the digital media industries, new forms of digital work, and diversity and feminism in digital games. Her forthcoming book ‘Global Games: Production, Circulation and Policy in the Networked Age’ will be published by Routledge in January 2017.
Rob Kitchin is a Professor and ERC Advanced Investigator in the National Institute of Regional and Spatial Analysis at Maynooth University. He is currently a Principal Investigator on the Programmable City project, the Digital Repository of Ireland, the All-Island Research Observatory and the Building City Dashboards project/Dublin Dashboard.

David Malone is an SFI Stokes Lecturer working at the Hamilton Institute at Maynooth University on networking, particularly wireless networking (802.11 and 802.11e). He is also interested in other areas of networking, particularly IPv6, Internet measurement, security and time keeping. He is a funded investigator on the CONNECT project. 
Liz McFall is Head of the Department of Sociology at the Open University. Her research is about how consumer markets are made, especially for dull, difficult or challenging products like life and health insurance and doorstep and payday loans. She is the author of ‘Devising Consumption: cultural economies of insurance, credit and spending’. McFall is currently working on a project on data markets and wearable technologies. She is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Cultural Economy.
Rachel O’Dwyer is a research fellow in CONNECT, TCD and the leader of the Dublin Art and Technology Association. Her current research focuses on digital currencies, blockchain and the Internet of Things. In 2015/2016 she was Government of Ireland Research Fellow in Maynooth University completing a manuscript on the history and economics of radio spectrum.

Our Sponsors and Supporters

The Data Politics, Data Markets and the Internet of Things workshop is made possible by generous support from CONNECT, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Future Networks and Communications (TCD and MU in particular), The Programmable City Project, NIRSA, Maynooth University Conference and Workshop Fund and Maynooth University Social Science Institute (MUSSI).


In addition, we are also hosting a Data Politics, Data Markets and the Internet of Things public event in Science Gallery, Dublin City Centre at 18:30 on the 30th of November, where we will be joined by additional speakers including:

Alison Powell - an Assistant Professor and Programme Director of the MSc in Media and Communication (Data & Society) in the London School of Economics. She is currently working on a book about technological citizenship and governance in data cities and Internet of Things-enabled ‘sensing cities’ as well as several projects related to citizenship, cities, data and ethics. 

Attending the evening event is free but space is limited. To reserve a place for the evening event please see register via eventbrite

This evening event will be recorded. 

Our evening event is made possible by CONNECT, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Future Networks and Communications, The Programmable City Project, NIRSA, Maynooth University Social Science Institute (MUSSI) and supported by Science Gallery, Trinity College Dublin.