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Jake Blok, Anouk Geenen, Ander de Keijzer, Rosa Louwerse, Wina Smeenk, and Ben Wagner

Websites place cookies on your computer to track your browsing behaviour. TikTok stores your personal data in China. Are you aware of what products, services, and organisations do with your personal data? It is often not obvious.

Our digital lives are becoming more and more prominent. We are now meeting each other virtually for work and leisure and are spotted and traced without our knowledge, both in physical places (public areas and streets) and in virtual spaces. Technology is developing rapidly, and policymakers are not able to keep up, resulting in unknown threats for citizens in modern society. Moreover, technology can lead to inequality and exclusion, as demonstrated in the Dutch childcare benefits scandal.

This group discussion about digital rights is initiated by Jake Blok and Rosa Louwerse of Digital Rights House, Anouk Geenen, onderzoeker, Societal Impact Design at Inholland, and Inholland Digital Rights Research Team co-founders, Wina Smeenk, Ander de Keijzer and Ben Wagner.

We open with perspectives on the following:

  • How to tackle societal challenges, specifically digital rights?
  • What elements of systemic co-design can be identified in this case?

These thoughts are put forward to create space for others to share inspiration, examples, exchange, learning, and insights. Together we explore which systemic and co-design elements are involved in protecting or violating the digital rights of citizens and what (and who) has the opportunity to change this around.

  • What are the success factors and unintended mistakes?
  • What is the experience of failure, and how is it incorporated?

The Partners

The aim of the Inholland Digital Rights Research Team, co-founded by Professors Wina Smeenk, Ander de Keijzer and Ben Wagner, is to focus their work on the social, economic, cultural, communication, design and technological elements that can lead to a digitally more responsible society, and shape the debate on how technology can contribute to the quality of people’s lives.

  • How can people benefit from a digital society?
  • How are they hindered or, even worse, excluded from exercising their rights in digital society?

The Inholland Digital Rights Research Team does this in their research lines, as well as in the Sustainable Media Lab and the data-driven minor.

Digital Rights House Amsterdam is a non-profit organisation that is dedicated to the protection of citizen’s digital rights and has many projects in the pursuit of that goal: conducting independent research into the status of the protection of citizens’ digital rights (human rights), producing reports, providing solicited and unsolicited (critical constructive) advice on digital rights to policymakers, and publicly sharing knowledge through events they organise.

Jake Blok founded Digital Rights House and partnered with Wina Smeenk to establish the foundation Digital Right House Amsterdam.

Digital Rights panellists (from left): Ben Wagner, Anouk Geenen, Ander de Keijzer, Rosa Louwerse, Jake Blok, and Wina Smeenk.


Jake Block is a co-founder and CEO of, a privacy-first communication platform start-up that has taken the challenge seriously to provide full control of personal data and the development of tooling to interact with those important to you on your own terms when online. As founder of the Wish Will Way Foundation, he stimulates initiatives and research. This has led to the rise of a number of impactful initiatives like You Are Your Profile (stimulating awareness of personal data online) and Digital Rights House, stimulating cities to speed up the adoption of digital rights in the city.

In life, in general, Jake believes it is important to want to know your wish and to have the will to act. I believe then there is always a way. It is time to create a more dignity-driven and modern connected society by raising awareness for privacy/digital rights topics.

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Anouk Geenen is a PhD candidate within the Human Centred Design group at the University of Twente. In her doctoral research, Anouk combines the hands-on approach of design with the theoretical frameworks from philosophy and science and technology studies. Working on the smart city project, she will look at meaningful ways to bring various stakeholders together, to let them reflect upon the smart city technologies and co-create responsible smart city futures.

With a bachelor’s in Liberal Arts and Sciences and a master’s degree in Theoretical Physics combined with a Science in Society major, Anouk is an interdisciplinary scholar at heart. Her graduation project at the Rathenau Institute focused on the societal impact of the so-called Internet of Energy -where digitisation and the energy transition meet. This fueled her interest in socio-technical transitions and the ethical and political questions they pose.

Next to her research, Anouk is co-founder of the Speculative Futures chapter in The Hague and aims to bring futures thinking to a wider audience.

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Ander de Keijzer has been a lecturer in the Data-Driven Smart Society electorate since September 2019 and is part of the Research & Innovation Center for Technology, Design and Informatics. He is researching new methods for smarter storage of that quantity and for quickly extracting the correct information. His research focuses mainly on the agri-food and healthcare sectors. Anders’ work is multidisciplinary; he works with a large group of companies and partners, and he is always open to being proactively approached by people inside and outside Inholland.

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Rosa Louwerse leads (for Digital Rights House) the Digital Rights Day initiative and created the privacy-first communication platform iYYU with a role in product development and usage design, focussing on data ownership. She is also the Digital Rights House Coordinator for the partnership with the city of Amsterdam. Other projects include her first children’s book, Henry de papegaai, launched in September 2022 and the documentary You are Your Profile, about social protection online. (2021/2022)

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Wina Smeenk has been a Professor in Societal Impact Design at Inholland University of Applied Sciences since 2021. She is also a co-founder and chair of the Expertisenetwork Systemic Co-design (ESC)—a network of five universities of applied sciences in the Netherlands. Next, Wina is the lab lead for the Inholland Urban Leisure and Tourism Lab in Amsterdam. In 2010 Wina launched her own empathic co-design agency, “Wiens Ontwerperschap” (a play on words with her name in Dutch that roughly translates to “Whose Designership”). She graduated from Delft University of Technology, where she studied Industrial Design, after which she spent over 25 years working as a strategist, co-designer and researcher for a variety of international businesses, government and non-profit organisations in many different product and service sectors. Moreover, she helped to develop innovative design-oriented education. These include universities of applied sciences such as Inholland, the HAN and the HvA, as well as the VU, THNK, the Amsterdam School of Creative Leadership and the Faculty of Industrial Design at Eindhoven University of Technology. In 2019, she defended her PhD thesis ‘Navigating Empathy, empathic formation in co-design processes’. Wina has written several academic articles, and she co-authored the book ‘Design, Play, Change, a Playful Introduction to Design Thinking’, which was published by BIS in 2022.

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Ben Wagner is Professor of Media, Technology and Society and Director, Sustainable Media Lab at Inholland and an Associate Professor of Human Rights & Technology at TU Delft. Ben’s research focuses on digital rights and sustainable media systems. Ben has published extensively in leading international journals on the governance of digital media, the impact of technology design choices on society and how digital media systems can contribute to strengthening human rights. He is a visiting researcher at the Human Centred Computing Group at Oxford University, an advisory board member of the data science journal Patterns and on the International Scientific Committee of the UKRI Trustworthy Autonomous Systems Hub.

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Expertisenetwerk Systemisch Co-design




Citation Data

Author(s): Jake Blok, Anouk Geenen, Ander de Keijzer, Rosa Louwerse, Wina Smeenk, and Ben Wagner
Year: 2023
Title: Digital Rights
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Volume: RSD12
Article No.: pre-release
Host: Georgetown University
Location: Amsterdam, NLD | ONLINE
Symposium Dates: October 6–20, 2023
First published: 13 July 2023
Last update: no update
Publisher Identification: ISSN 2371-8404