Data Privacy

European call for more individual control of personal data

More can and should be done to give individuals increased control over how their personal data is collected and used online, the European Data Protection Supervisor has said.

In a published opinion on Personal Information Management Systems (PIMS), Giovanni Buttarelli said the new GDPR regulations, which become law in 2018 and allow for increased transparency, data portability and the right to forget among other measures, should be seen as a foundation for personal data sovereignty and the fight to regain control over our online identities, not the final word.

He said:“Our online lives currently operate in a provider-centric system, where privacy policies tend to serve the interests of the provider or of a third party, rather than the individual.

“Using the data they collect, advertising networks, social network providers and other corporate actors are able to build increasingly complete individual profiles. This makes it difficult for individuals to exercise their rights or manage their personal data online.

“A more human-centric approach is needed which empowers individuals to control how their personal data is collected and shared.”

The fundamental idea behind PIMS services, although they differ wildly in how this is done, is that individuals are in control of their data, deciding when and with whom it is shared, collectively strengthening the human right to privacy in the digital world.

Here at, our Internet of Me vision is just that – the belief, core to everything we do, that the individual should hold their own data, and be the sole decider of what is shared.

Because another of our fundamental operating principles is that we never see, touch nor hold ANY user data, only enabling its download and storage, we are at the cutting edge of this emerging technology field, offering maximum privacy to users.

As growing awareness of the current mass misuse of personal data grows, the desire for privacy is growing rapidly, and with it services offering just that are emerging to meet this demand.

So it is hugely heartening to see the EDPS explicitly encouraging the European Commission to support the development of innovative digital tools that work to increase user privacy and control over data, as well as taking policy initiatives that “inspire the development of economically viable business models that faciliate their use.”

The effective implementation of technological, economic and legal initiatives around personal data, combined with continuing innovation, will help all of us take back control of our online identities.

And that can’t come soon enough.