There are a squillion ways that tech companies use your data to affect how they deliver you services (for better or worse). On top of the data you consciously or inadvertently provide, companies have access to data they buy from data brokers, who combine data from many sources. Very few of the ways in which these data are used are well understood or well known, because they are usually kept behind closed doors.

“Personalisation” algorithms relying on this data can lead to many negative outcomes as well as the touted positive ones. We believe that algorithms like this should be open sourced. We are therefore interested in building applications that demonstrate either a better way of using or exposing the data, or the extent of the potential negative impacts. We want to make clear why these algorithms should be made more transparent.

The following are some examples of existing projects that you might like to use for inspiration!

Existing Projects


Alternative navigation app helps you find something by looking for something else. Algorithm being challenged: journey planners that are usually optimised for speed or distance.


Journey planner to optimise discovery. Algorithm being challenged: journey planners that are usually optimised for speed or distance.

Skunkworks Finder

A prototype web app for visualising the diverse ecosystem of creativity and innovation spaces. Algorithm being challenged: Recommender systems and social media that suggest places where your existing friends hang out.


News curation fighting filter bubbles by Eli Pariser. Algorithm being challenged: News services such as Apple News that only show you the news you want to see, not the news worth seeing.

Familiar Strangers and Jabberwocky

The individuals that we regularly observe but do not interact with. Algorithm being challenged: All social media platforms that optimise for homophily, since they connect you with people you are friends with, but do not usually support serendipitous encounters with familiar strangers.

London is Changing

Billboards displaying messages from people who have been displaced from the neighbourhood where the billboard is located in London. Algorithm being challenged: Billboards that display targeted advertisement that appeals to passers-by of a local geographic area.

See also

Data Cooperatives and Distributive Data Justice