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Published October 3, 2023 | Version v1.0.1
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Port: A software tool for digital data donation


Repository containing the software discussed in "Port: A software tool for digital data donation"

This repository contains the software discussed in the paper Port: A software tool for digital data donation. It contains the state of the Port git repository at the time of submission (including all dependencies).


Summary of the paper

Recently, a new workflow has been introduced that allows academic researchers to partner with individuals interested in donating their digital trace data for academic research purposes [@boeschoten2022framework]. In this workflow, the digital traces of participants are processed locally on their own devices in such a way that only the subset of participants' digital trace data that is of legitimate interest to a research project are shared with the researcher, which can only occur after the participant has provided their informed consent.

This data donation workflow consists of the following steps: First, the participant requests a digital copy of their personal data at the platform of interest, such as Google, Meta, Twitter and other digital platforms, i.e., their Data Download Package (DDP). Platforms, as data controllers, are required as per the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to share a digital copy with each participant requesting such a copy. Second, they download the DDP onto their personal device. Third, by means of local processing, only the data points of interest to the researcher are extracted from that DDP. Fourth, the participant inspects the extracted data points after which the participant can consent to donate. Only after providing this consent, the donated data is sent to a storage location and can be accessed by the researcher, which would mean that the storage location can be accessed for further analysis.

In this paper, we introduce Port. Port is a software tool that allows researchers to configure the local processing step of the data donation workflow, allowing the researcher to collect exactly the digital traces needed to answer their research question. When using Port, a researcher can decide:

  •     Which digital platforms are investigated;
  •     Which digital traces are collected;
  •     How the extracted digital traces are visually presented to the participant;
  •     What is communicated to the participant.




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