Creating Public Spaces: Centering Public Values in Digital Infrastructures

José van Dijck, Geert-Jan Bogaerts, Ethan Zuckerman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Institutions like public broadcasters and universities face conflicts of values when using surveillant digital tools: organizations bound to protect the privacy and respect their autonomy of their constituents - which we term "values-led organizations" - find those values undermined by tools they must use to conduct business online. A Dutch nonprofit, Public Spaces, has developed a self-audit method for documenting dependencies on such tools and working to find values-consistent alternatives. The Public Spaces Digital Power Wash is a method applicable to other tensions between organizational values and values embedded in digital tools. We expand from this specific case study to consider the larger challenge of tensions between organizational values and the behavior of digital tools and examine the possibility that values-led organizations could take the lead in building digital public infrastructures that value the autonomy and privacy of citizens.
Original languageEnglish
Article number9
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalDigital Government: Research and Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2023


  • Digital public infrastructure
  • open-source software
  • privacy
  • surveillance
  • user autonomy


Dive into the research topics of 'Creating Public Spaces: Centering Public Values in Digital Infrastructures'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this