Alex Bowyer is a researcher and software engineer from North East England who has recently finished his PhD thesis at Newcastle University specialising in ‘Understanding and Improving Human Data Relations’. This Digital Civics research bridges participatory design, HCI, UX, social science and computer science. His research explores the power imbalance caused by organisations (in both public and private sector) holding personal data about service users, creating problems of access, representation, control and reduced accountability. Through legal routes such as GDPR requests and adversarial design approaches such as web extensions and data flow auditing, he now works to try and help individuals and collectives take control of their data and pressure digital service providers for better data rights and fairer treatment. He is currently working as a senior software engineer at, a Swiss company specialising in building tools and delivering training on how to obtain and make sense of one’s personal data. Hestia works with disadvantaged groups such as Uber drivers, helping them gather data to demand fairer treatment from their employers, or better rights as users.