Workshop: Scraping Political Big Data (Web Hacking Techniques).
The workshop will introduce the basic philosophy behind transparency activism and how to apply it practically through the use of smart hacks over web platforms.
Ownership, privacy and the geopolitical use of big data will be examined through cases histories of ethical and legal issues. For instance the workshop can have a special focus on financial and corporate data in relation to the recent financial meltdown, as well as for environmental data to track pollution and climate change or many others interesting autonomous collection and reading of data.
The workshop will seek to develop methodologies and mechanisms for exploring creative and unconventional uses of political data over the web. It will reveal smart ways to access data that is considered public but held hostage by its containers.
The practical session of the workshop will introduce some simple software, coding, techniques and tricks to extract data from web servers through robots on clusters of machines with perpetual subroutines.
Access and fair use of Big Open Data is becoming pivotal for accelerating the development of our society and resolving the present dysfunctionalities.
Although many governmental and private institutions have recently started to provide their rich data to the public, there is still much to fight in order to reach the level of transparency necessary for a new form of enhanced radical democracy. For instance the unsolved legal case of WikiLeaks made a historical point about the political power of information when it was opened up and fairly distributed thanks to information technology.
The workshop coordinator is well known for web-hacktivism through projects such as Face to Facebook, Google Will Eat Itself and Amazon Noir. He was part of the legendary Italian net-art collective Epidemic which has created creative viruses and P2P software. At the age of twenty-two he was investigated by the Department of National Defense of Canada and the USA for his innovative DDOS attacks on NATO's website though a Flash script.
Software that will be explored during the workshop:
IMacro, FakeApp, Scraperwiki, Beautiful Soup, Scrapy, etc.
Code that will be explored:
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