What would you do? Share your idea

Hi, so as I mentioned in the Introductions post, I helped @paulolivier drafting the funding proposal for PersonalData.IO


We understand that one of the main problems is that no one knows how the personal data ecosystem works for real, there’s little comms between people, initiatives and organisations.

Therefore the document proposes building a community of informed stakeholders around personal data, where people use transparent, online tools to actively map the personal data ecosystem and share their views/perspectives, to build meaningful information about it.

When discussing and writing that, one of the first things we talked about was “What is your idea for this to change”.

I think it’s interesting to have more perspectives here. What do you think needs to happen to change this situation we’re in, regarding personal data?


This is a great question and I would like to add my 2 cents to the discussion

First and foremost we must understand that the monetization of personal data could not and will not be possible without us, the users/consumers. It is by our interactions with websites that makes it possible for the companies who develop, refine and sell algorithmic products to advertisers and anyone else who is interested in paying for it.

Secondly, there is a fine line between personal data and products that are created by aggregation of this data. It is not as easy as thinking that because personal data is used then it should be fully disclosed because we get into gray zones around what is created by the company and could be subjected to intellectual property, patent, or any other law. For example if company X created hundreds of profiles of “user types” based on personal data but neither disclose any personal sensitive and personal data nor makes these “user types” identifiable to an actual user, would they have to disclose this information as per GDPR? Maybe they must disclose person X belongs to “user type A” but they might not have to disclose how the data was aggregated, which techniques were used, etc to create the “User types”. This further complicates how we can potentially begin to understand this eco system.

Thirdly, any initiative that is working to bring transperacy to this eco system MUST have a financial incentive to gain traction and to grow over time. I fully believe it is not logical to expect full disclosure from the tech companies explaining how their eco system works as they are financially motivated to protect as much of their products as possible. This is unfortunately the fact of Capitalism and the current system. Also the culture of big corporations are hard to change as the bigger the corporation, the slower the change will be. I don’t expect any of these companies to grow consciousness out of blue to make any meaningful change… back to the financial incentive piece, for me there must be a startup/organization with a vision of a new Business Model that have a financial incentive as well as transperancy around data. Tristan Harris has some great points around “Time well spent” concepts, which could be meaningful.

Unfortunately, short of inventing a new business model that is both profitable and transperant it will be very difficult if not impossible to make any meaningful change.

Thanks for sharing this. All three points, especially the last, give a lot of food for thought.

As I told by introduction - I develop such new Business Model (merging of existing book distribution models into one ecosystem of reading&learning enhancement, with societal values propositions); for dissemination of ethical (like MyData/PersonalData.io) best practices, via the mass product: public library books. We have clear monetization vision also; plus Finland literacy & digitization branding exposure into US and EU.