Open Future Foundation — a study conducted on users of photo sharing platforms for the sake of the AI_Commons initiative.

The challenge

Open Future promotes the concepts of Internet openness and information commons. The expert reports compiled by the organisation add an important voice to the European debate over digital policy and the future development of the Internet towards increased openness. AI_Commons aims to expose the inefficient legislation and governance vacuum regarding the datasets containing user photographs shared under open-source licences.

There are known instances of such datasets being utilised, among other things, for machine learning. Open Future had raised a question as to whether users of photo-sharing platforms are aware of the problem, and it was Selkie’s task to provide the answer.

What have we accomplished?

  • 1. Development of the survey instrument.
  • 2. Quantitative and qualitative analyses of the survey responses gathered from the users of photo hosting services (primarily Flickr).


The conclusions enabled us to outline avenues for further research. Moreover, we proposed actions aimed at assisting the users of open-source licences when it comes in comprehending the problem and reacting to the risks and malpractices related to the development of AI.

Additionally, the qualitative analysis of the answers to the open-ended questions allowed us to identify the key threads in the case of users of photo hosting platforms. Furthermore, it deepened the understanding of user attitudes towards different contexts of facial image use.

Open Future Foundation issued a summary report of the expert opinion formulated within the research.