Mozilla, the company behind the popular Firefox web browser, announced this week that four organizations have joined its latest Data Futures Lab cohort. Place Trust, Driver’s Seat Cooperative, Drivers Coop and Digital Democracy will all receive $100,000 grants as well as access to Mozilla Fellows and a network of experts who can help them grow their platforms, ZDNet reports.
Applications will also receive assistance in implementing specific user-centric data governance features, policies, and practices. Mehan Jayasuriya, senior program manager at Mozilla, said the four projects “will pilot new data management models with existing communities and provide concrete examples of how users and communities can achieve greater ownership and better control over their own data”.
Place Trust is a non-profit organization that works to create “open, trusted, and accessible city maps and place them in perpetual legal trust in the public interest.” Digital Democracy is an organization using an app called Mapeo to collect and share evidence of human rights and environmental abuses.
New York-based Driver’s Coop is a ridesharing app collectively owned by more than 5,000 drivers and 40,000 riders who already use it. Driver’s Seat – a co-op owned and controlled by rideshare and delivery drivers – is trying to empower workers in the field, giving drivers more data and insights into how they can earn money .
Champika Fernando, head of Mozilla’s Data Futures Lab, told ZDNet that Mozilla has worked to educate consumers about the data collection practices of many of the most popular apps. But now they wanted to promote and support alternatives that respect data privacy.
The challenge, according to Fernando, is that it’s extremely lucrative for apps like Uber, GrubHub and others to collect as much information as possible, knowing that someone somewhere will end up paying for it.
The Data Futures Lab was launched in 2020 to help people around the world create products and services aimed at disrupting a digital economy that has become dependent on sucking in as much data as possible.
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