Interview with Distinguished University Professors José van Dijck and Bart Jacobs

The digital world is mostly built on market principles rather than on public values, such as privacy, safety and democratic control. What we consider to be ‘public spaces’ in our physical world, such as village squares, schools or hospitals, are mostly corporate spaces in the digital world—spaces owned and operated by just a couple of big technology companies. What are the implications for the public sector now that our lives are increasingly datafied, platformized and commercialized? What happens to public services such as health care, education and the media when they turn into digitized proprietary assets? And how can we create alternative public spaces online, platforms and services that are built on public values and governed by noncorporate, nonprofit entities? Professors José van Dijck and Bart Jacobs discuss and reflect on alternative public resources that are based on our public values.

Short bio José van Dijck
Distinguished University Professor in Media and Digital Society José van Dijck studied Literature at the Utrecht University in a time the ‘world wide web’ was yet to be invented. Throughout the years she witnessed the internet grow and her academic research on media transformed along with globally changing technologies. Joining with computer scientists, lawyers, economists and behavioral scientists, Van Dijck and her team collaborate in the Utrecht University program called ‘Governing the Digital Society’ where they study the impact of online platforms on social institutions. NWO recently awarded José van Dijck the Spinoza Prize 2021.

Short bio Bart Jacobs
Bart Jacobs is a professor of computer security, privacy and identity at Radboud University Nijmegen in The Netherlands. His work covers both theoretical computer science and more practical, multidisciplinary work, especially in computer security and privacy. Jacobs is a member of the Academia Europaea and of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), and a recipient of an ERC Advanced Grant. He is an active participant in societal debates about security and privacy, in the media and in various advice roles e.g. for government and parliament. He chairs a non-profit spin-off on attribute-based identity management (see and is co-founder of Nijmegen’s interdisciplinary hub on security, privacy and data governance ( In 2021 he received the Stevin prize.

Practical information
29 November 2021
15.15 – 16.00 hr (CET)
This interview will be in English
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