For trade not sale: digi.me and our role in the personal data economy

You may have seen digi.me quoted in a recent article in the FT about changes in the personal data economy which will lead people to only give information about themselves in return for something that benefits them.

This step change is certainly coming, and is arguably long overdue, but we have always believed it is about so much more than money, with a straight sale the least exciting thing we can do with our data.

Digi.me offers far greater benefits to both individuals and businesses than just the prospect of a sterile trade between data and cold, hard cash – it offers exchange of that information, with whom and when you choose, in return for any value which may be service, convenience or reward. Much more powerful and of ongoing benefit to your life.

Clearly, the data of each and every one of us has a monetary value to businesses. It tells businesses snippets of information about us, about what we are like and crucially what products or services we could be interested in or tempted by. But the key word there is snippets – this is snapshots of bits of personal information we have revealed about ourselves. Not whole, not wholly accurate, and therefore far from useful. But businesses use it because it’s still better than nothing.

How much better would accurate, rich data about each and every one of us be? Traded by the individual only with businesses they want to deal with, in exchange for service, convenience or reward.  That may be a health app to help you stay healthy or to allow you to share information with a doctor when you travel. It may be a new service to allow you to get more out of a product you use, it could be to tailor a service for you, it could be to allow you to directly engage with your bank on your credit history, and so on – innovation will flourish once you control your own data.  And that innovation will be much more than just selling your data to get tailored advertising!

Permissioned Access, coming to digi.me next year, does just this, turning this outdated and imperfect process on its head, with immediate and tangible benefits for both parties. Businesses can provide better services with more likelihood of deep consumer engagement if they know who they’re working with – and you can give them 100 per cent accurate and deep data going back months or years, with no errors thrown in.

If we’re getting personalised services based on actual data about ourselves, rather than some imagined self, we’re more likely to bite. There’s mutual trust, everyone’s happy, and the data for value exchange model becomes the new normal.

Here at digi.me we have always been crystal clear that the user regains control of their own data partly by having it under their control, which means stored in a local library on their computer or, with our coming release, encrypted in a cloud storage of their choice.

Crucially, we never see your data – you download our app and then populate it yourself, direct from your social networks, and then over the next year, your other data such as finance, health, from wearables and more. Under Permissioned Access, businesses will first have to demonstrate that they understand and will respect the importance and privacy of user data before they are certified and allowed to use our service. So we take your security and privacy, and that of your data, extremely seriously.

With the massive social media platforms of our age, the Facebooks, the Instagrams and the Twitters, has come the resigned understanding that, because we are allowed to use them for free, the inevitable trade is being tracked and our anonymised data sold on.

Companies like digi.me are working hard to show this does not have to be the model, that you can use us without us seeing or using your data, because we’re offering something new and different, which will change how you value your data forever.

Data exchange for value, whether service, convenience or reward, is where the personal data economy is undoubtedly heading – so remember you heard it here first.

*Want to also be the first to see new releases and get our new app when it is released? Download our desktop version for free.

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