SODAS Data Discussion, Maja Hojer Bruun & Adam Sheridan

Data discussion. Green colour in waterCopenhagen Center for Social Data Science (SODAS), is pleased to announce that we are continuing the success with SODAS Data Discussions this spring.


SODAS aspirers to be a resource for all students and researchers at the Faculty of Social Sciences. We therefor invite researchers across the faculty to present ongoing research projects, project applications or just a loose idea that relates to the subject of social data science.


Every month two researchers will present their work. The rules are simple: short research presentations of ten minutes are followed by twenty minutes of debate. No papers will be circulated beforehand, and the presentations cannot be longer than five slides.

Maja Hojer Bruun,  Associate Professor in Educational Anthropology, Aarhus University & Adam Sheridan, PhD student, Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen and Danske Bank, will present at the third SODAS Data Discussion of this spring the 12th of April.

Maja Hojer Bruun:
Infrastructures of trust and distrust. Anthropological perspectives on emerging cryptographic technologies

Cryptography is a field of mathematics and computer science that works on ways of protecting information by hiding it through codes and computer protocols. The spread of personal computers since the 1970s and the development of the Internet has extended the use of cryptography from governments and military to the whole world, and encryption has become a matter of not only data security but also data privacy. Today, cryptography is not only used by states and the military but also for computer passwords, electronic commerce and payment cards and all kinds of digital signatures and identity authentication. Moreover, cryptography but also extends into subcultures and underground activities such as the political activities of hackers, the Dark Net and Tor (The Onion Router). Thus, cryptography is part of a ubiquitous, yet invisible infrastructure that we use every day but very few of us understand.
This paper presents the work of mathematicians, engineers and anthropologists from Aalborg and Aarhus University in the SECURE project (Secure Estimation and Control Using Recursion and Encryption) with the emerging encryption and computation technology Multi-Party Computation (MPC). Unlike traditional forms of encryption that require a trusted third party, MPC enables decentralised data analysis where several parties jointly compute a function without revealing the inputs of each party to anyone. In this way, the boundaries between trust and distrust, public and private are being reconfigured. As part of the SECURE project’s aim to make MPC graspable for the broader public, and to cultivate public consciousness and political debate about data technologies, security and infrastructures, we have developed a prototype virtual reality experience of current and emerging forms of encryption using the smart grid as a case.

Adam Sheridan:
Learning About Social Networks from Mobile Money Transfers

The increasing popularity of mobile money transfer apps is generating population-scale data on real-world social interactions. I demonstrate how data from these apps presents researchers with an opportunity to better comprehend social networks and their role in social and economic behavior. To this end, I construct a population-scale social network from the near universe of mobile money transfers in Denmark. I detail the network’s distinct structural properties and their accordance with those of known social networks. Combining the network with population-wide individual-level data on socio-economic attributes and institutional attachments, I provide novel insights on four key questions concerning social networks. First, the life cycle evolution of social ties with changing institutional attachments. Second, the individual and economic correlates of immigrant social segregation and integration. Third, the extent of social network stratification by economic status. Fourth, the contagious effects of job loss on household expenditure through social interactions.

The SODAS Data Discussion will take place at SODAS' new location in building 1, 2nd floor, room 26 (1.2.26) of the CSS Campus, University of Copenhagen, from 11.00 am to 12.00 pm.

If you have questions or want to know more, please write Agnete Vienberg Hansen at