Alek Tarkowski

Strategy Director
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About Alek

Alek is the Strategy Director at Open Future. He has over 15 years of experience with public interest advocacy, movement building and research into the intersection of society, culture and digital technologies. He is a sociologist by training and holds a PhD in sociology from the Polish Academy of Science. In 2010 he established Centrum Cyfrowe, one of leading Polish organisations promoting openness and internet users’ rights. He led Centrum Cyfrowe for ten years as the Director and President of the Board. Before founding Centrum Cyfrowe, he was a strategic advisor to the Prime Minister of Poland.

In 2005, he co-founded Creative Commons Poland and had since then been an active member of the Creative Commons network. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Creative Commons, member of the Executive Committee of the Global Network Council and representative of CC Poland to the network.

He is also one of the co-founders of COMMUNIA, the European Association for the Public Domain. Together with other COMMUNIA members, he’s been involved since 2015 in European copyright reform advocacy, related to the European Copyright Directive legislative process. One of his focus areas is Copyright and Education.

Alek has been involved in a range of initiatives aimed at charting new directions and strategies for a range of organisations and the open movement itself. He led (with Nicole Allen), the 10th Anniversary review of the Cape Town Open Education Declaration. He co-chaired (with Ryan Merkeley) CC’s network strategic review process, which led to creating the new CC network model in 2017. He is one of the authors of the Open Policy Index, an effort to map open policies worldwide. In Poland, he has been involved in developing epodreczniki.pl, the open public textbooks initiative. Finally, he co-authored A Vision for Shared Digital Europe, an alternative digital policy vision for Europe.

He currently sits on the Steering Committee of Internet Governance Forum Poland and the Program Committee for IGF2021. As a member of the Board of Strategic Advisors to the Prime Minister of Poland (2008-2011), he co-authored the strategic report “Poland 2030” (2009) and the Polish official long-term strategy for growth. He was also Junior Fellow at McLuhan Program on Culture and Technology, University of Toronto.

He published, with Mirek Filiciak, a collection of essays titled “Two zero. Alphabet of the new culture and other essays”. Since 2006 he has been blogging for “Polityka”, a prominent Polish weekly.

Alek lives in Warsaw with his partner and two daughters. In his free time, he cooks, runs and bakes bread.


Posts

The Conference on the Future of Europe A Prototype of Future Policymaking?

May 27, 2021 by: Alek Tarkowski et al.
The Conference on the Future of Europe–CoFoE–represents an unprecedented democratic exercise bringing mass citizen participation through digital platforms. The Open Movement and other activist organisations should use this opportunity to shape future EU policies.

Digital Compass – Can you point me to the society?

May 7, 2021 by: Alek Tarkowski
A critical take on the European Commission's Communication "2030 Digital Compass" which defines the policy objectives for Europe's Digital Decade.

AI_Commons Open licensing in the age of AI

April 29, 2021 by: Francesco Vogelezang et al.
Openly licensed photographs of faces have been broadly used for the training of AI facial recognition systems. This is widely presented as an example of corporate extraction of value from the commons, yet no policy or governance solution has been provided to this challenge.

Interoperability with a Purpose

December 14, 2020 by: Alek Tarkowski et al.
Interoperability is a key step to fix the internet and to build digital public infrastructures. Interoperability has arrived on the policy agenda, where it is widely expected that the European Union’s upcoming Digital Services Act contains at least some interoperability measures for so-called gatekeeper platforms.

Publications

The argument against property rights in data. Ensuring access to data though non-exclusive access rights.

December 10, 2021 by: Alek Tarkowski et al.
In this policy brief we review the EU policy debate on access and use of data in view of the upcoming Data Act. We provide arguments against the introduction of new property rights–including the sui generis database right–in favor of strengthening data access rights.

Digital Public Space – A missing policy frame for shaping Europe’s digital future

September 29, 2021 by: Alek Tarkowski et al.
This article is our contribution to Building a European Digital Public Space - Strategies for taking back control from Big Tech platforms, a book edited by Aleksander Baratsits and Published by iRights Media in November 2021

The Paradox of Open Reimagining the role of openness in the digital environment

March 5, 2021 by: Paul Keller et al.
The Paradox of Open is the essay that we published in March 2021 to mark the launch of Open Future. In this essay we reflect on almost 20 years of our involvement in the open movement.

A Vision for a Shared Digital Europe

April 12, 2019 by: Paul Keller et al.
The Vision for a Shared Digital Europe is a policy frame that can guide policymakers and civil society organisations involved with digital policymaking in the direction of a more equitable and democratic digital environment.