Emma Thwaites

Director of Corporate Affairs
Open Data Institute

Power & Diplomacy: When Open Data and Realpolitik Collide

Open Data
Tuesday, February 7 • 1:00pm – 1:30pm GMT
St James, 4th Floor
Emma Thwaites photo

Power & Diplomacy: When Open Data and Realpolitik Collide

The utopian promise of the Internet was to democratise knowledge and promote free and open culture. However, efforts by some actors have contributed to the emergence of closed spaces of data sharing and access, which has perpetuated many of the same power structures and concentrations that exist in the offline world.

In this session, the panel will consider how compatible the ideals of open data are within a world that is increasingly characterised by conflict, competition and growing scepticism towards further globalisation.

The panel will discuss the prospects for open data initiatives that are vulnerable to this challenging geopolitical context. Topics to be discussed include the resilience of data sharing to political interests and the weaponisation of data and its infrastructure.


Since 2012, Emma has led the ODI’s communications and marketing, developing the brand into one of the most strongly recognised and respected in its market. She has 30 years’ strategic communication experience, gained in roles at the BBC and UK Cabinet Office. A former journalist and news editor, she currently works with ODI’s marketing, production and PR specialists and advises the board and the wider leadership team. Emma is also the founder and Executive Chair of the award-winning B2B communication agency, Allegory.