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Human Data Science (HDS)

MIFFY

MIFFY is a collaboration project with the research engineering team at Utrecht University, which aims to make data from social media platforms easily accessible for researchers to use in social sciences research.

A potentially powerful method of social-scientific data collection and investigation has been created by an unexpected institution: the law. Article 15 of the EU’s 2018 General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) mandates that individuals have electronic access to their own data, and all major digital platforms now comply with this law by providing users with “data download packages” (DDPs). Through voluntary donation of DDPs, all data collected by public and private entities during the course of citizens’ digital life can be obtained and analyzed to answer social-scientific questions — with consent.

The MIFFY project introduces this new way of data collection to be used in research settings and develops a methodology for researchers to make valid measurements using these data download packages. Currently, the MIFFY team is working on developing scripts to automatically anonymize the data download packages, in addition to an interface providing researchers with a clear overview of the content of various DDPs, and with software to run the scripts locally on the respondent’s devices. The practical application of MIFFY is a collaboration with Project AWeSome.

The MIFFY project is financed by the NWO Vidi granted to Dr. Daniel Oberski.