Digital European Public Spaces

DEPS has the goal to research and facilitate digital European public spaces that are open, democratic, and sustainable. By design, such environments are inclusive for everyone and transparent about how personal and usage data is stored and processed, offer possibilities to change how they work, and do not exploit people for economic gain or cause harm to our planet.
The DEPS initiative arises from the current lack of public spaces online. Public spaces have been replaced by profit-driven marketplaces: spaces of constant surveillance where private companies set the rules for access and discourse, and determine what we do and do not see. This situation threatens crucial human rights that are fundamental to European public spaces.
This can be fixed, but requires an ecosystem of infrastructure, hardware, software, design, governance and people. Various efforts to create fair technology and defend human rights online are already in action, but there are gaps and overlaps. To connect the dots, DEPS is building a network of organisations and individuals who contribute to the shared goal of digital public spaces. We map out the current field of those working towards digital public spaces; we present a collection of perspectives on what is needed; and we develop a blueprint for governance of digital European public spaces, all to move us towards a future where human rights shared and values are upheld in the online world.



April 2023 / Thomas van Dijk en Julia Jansen

Open Hem NU!

Een visie op Home Energy Management Systemen gebaseerd op open standaarden, open-source technologie en energiegemeenschappen die publieke waarden centraal stellen. 

20 Sept 2021

Governance of Digital Public Spaces

This series of articles discuss the governance of digital public spaces and what that entails. It builds on the previous work done by both Waag and the PublicSpaces coalition, who argued for the importance of such digital public spaces. […]

20 Sept 2021

Communicating About Digital Public Spaces

Communicating about digital public spaces is hard. There is so much to tell, but we want to capture a short message. We have to be nuanced and clear, but also simple and concise. We have to
speak with a wide range of experts, policymakers, and citizens, but we need to keep a target audience in mind. We need to provide the right level of background information, and we need to get
to the point. This publication presents strategies for addressing different audiences with the same core message – that digital public spaces are built on our rules, not theirs

1 Apr 2021 / Sander van der Waal

Report on Digital Public Spaces (2020)

In November 2020 Waag published a report on Digital European Public Spaces. The report is not the latest of where we are, but it provides background information that can help anyone understand our current work.

8 Mar 2021 / Max Kortlander

Imagine Digital Public Spaces

Imagine a world where you are not tracked online. You can send a message to a friend and know that nobody else (not even a robot) will see it. You can post anonymously to a message board, and even check the code of that message board yourself if you want to be sure that your privacy is protected by design. […]

28 Sept 2020 / Tom Demeyer

Identity Management

Considering Digital Identity in the context of the public stack, we see the subject represented in all layers, and firmly rooted in the foundation. Identity and its related concepts of ownership […]