Why data portability is key to the Internet of Me

The only thing we need to worry about with personal data is getting seamless access to it – the rest will fall into place.

In a recent talk to the Stiftung Datenschutz in Leipzig, our Executive Chairman Julian Ranger revealed how a career as an aeronautical career specialising in the military internet gave him the tools and processes to make digi.me.

He said his success then – and digi.me’s now – was founded on three basic principles – bringing power to the edge, as close as you can, finding a simple solution to complex problems, and interoperability – working really hard to make sure as many things can work together as possible.

He said:”When we look at personal data, we’re all concerned about privacy and consent – but are we using personal data effectively, are we using personal data enough? I don’t want to put a lid on it, I want to use personal data more, but whilst being private and having consent.

“That’s interesting because we seem to be given a Faustian choice – we can have everything we want, but then we have to give up privacy. Or we can do nothing with personal data but we can keep ourselves private.

“Now I don’t want that, I want to do everything possible with personal data, I want as many businesses working with us using my personal data as possible, but I also want to keep it private. And those two sides of the coin are not opposites.

“How do we achieve that? We have to keep it simple – we need to bring our data together if we’re going to make better use of it. When we bring it together for an individual, that’s when privacy comes in.

“The only place where all that data can come together is at the individual. If you bring all that data to the individual, it’s their data. The data can be useful to me, because I own it.

“I’m interested in full privacy, full consent but greater use of your data – and that’s what happens when you own your own personal data.

“But the important point is that data portability is the key. We only need to do one thing – we need our data, so we have to have the right of data portability – it powers the Internet of Me. Not just businesses and devices, but governments have to give your data back. Now countries are already doing this.”

He added that it was crucial to mandate APIs for seamless data flow: “It’s no good me having to constantly go and work hard to get my data, it has to be an automatic flow when I log on, just like it is when I want to get my Facebook data or Twitter or other data.

“That is the one thing that we need to worry about, and if we worry about that, nearly all the other problems will disappear over time, because we are now in control and businesses will come to us.”

“The future is now, it’s here and working now.”

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