Observed.City is Birmingham UK’s first email newsletter covering data privacy, art, tech and activism. It is new in the space and will connect activity and engage new audiences in an easy and direct way. My aim is to make data privacy more accessible, engaging and FUN! March 2018 update: The newsletter is now live – you can sign up here

Hello and welcome!

Also Bienvenue. Wilkommen. Selamat datang (practising my Indonesian there).

Thank you for visiting and reading – you are kindly invited to join and help develop this project. Although this project is based in my hometown, I will produce end documentation to help others to kickstart the data privacy conversation in their own towns, cities and regions.

The challenge

My city, like many others, lacks:

  1. Options to talk publicly and openly about data privacy.

  2. Engagement – people are too busy or unconcerned about their online privacy.

  3. Connection – things are happening but they are not well linked up or promoted.

The solution

  1. To launch an email newsletter that curates interesting events and happenings in the city.

  2. To support this with other online discussion spaces (website and social media)

  3. To build a community of experts (data researchers, academics, artists and activists) and citizens who want to learn the basics of online privacy.

  4. To see what other fun tools/content I can create to engage readers.

Who is behind this project?

My name is Fiona and I’m a (former) journalist and digital content editor working in Birmingham, UK. I am doing this alone but I aim to find more editors to help make this project sustainable.

I am being mentored through the Mozilla Open Leaders Project by Rachael Ainsworth, radio astronomer, open science champion, organiser of HER+Data community in Manchester, England, and former Mozilla Open Leader: github.

How to help

I’ve started a list of tasks in the Roadmap section - the initial phase is all about R&D, finding people with expertise in community building and getting a first email out for feedback, but there will also be opportunities to get involved in the editorial side, the design of the project and content ideas. Please also read this Code of conduct before contributing.

  1. Feedback/thoughts – the launch issue went out (22 March) and I have just sent out issue 3. The website is at Observed.City and the newsletter archive is where you can read back issues. General feedback/advice would be great – you can get in touch by email (contact details below).

  2. Community building – I need to build subscribers and get the word out. I’ve launched – so what are the next steps to maximise reach?

  3. Content ideas – I want to help people understand their online lives better and improve their digital literacy so they can make more informed choices about their privacy. But it has to be engaging or people won’t come back. I’m playing with some ideas around a traffic light system for good/bad players (see next point). What do you think? Any other ‘fun’ ideas?

  4. Code – is there an easy way to rate companies for data privacy, by creating rank and a traffic light system for various elements? Eg, data mining terms and conditions of the big tech companies and rating them for length, readability, terms.

  5. Design - I don’t have a logo yet. I’m picturing a large focus on OBSERVED with a small city up the side.

  6. Editing - I want to finding guest editors, or people with a lot of social capital/reach who would be willing to do an intro. Any tech/privacy celebs out there want to volunteer?

  7. End documentation – how can others ‘Kickstart the city’ where they live? Looking at ideas on how best to do this – maybe a guide or top tips?

  8. Other awesome ideas – what haven’t I thought of that I could do?

Get in touch

If you have any question about the project or any suggestions for improvement, please open an issue at this github repository and I will respond as soon as I can. You may also contact Fiona by email (observedcity@protonmail.com) or on Twitter @katchooo with feedback or quick thoughts.

Thanks for reading. Merci beaucoup. Vielen dank. Terima kasih banyak.

Ciao for now!