I am male. I live in Shoreditch. I have blue eyes. A cat called Sam. I like hot chocolate. And I am 28 years old. This is data. Data is our lives, and forms our identities.
These personal details are what we relinquish when we start using free services like Facebook, Google, Amazon and Twitter. This mix of trail, data and pictures that create a disembodied digital aura that is being used as a currency, rather than as a commodity.
We must wake up to the value of our personal data.
Recently, an article was written about an experiment my company is running which aims to quantify employees through self-monitoring. To say there was some backlash is an understatement. Faced with accusations of “human rights violations”, and threats that someone was going to (excuse my French) take a “dump on my desk”, I was starting to fear the feds were going to come and prosecute me for mal practice…
The problem is that when people are shown what really happens to their data now they are shocked. That’s why we are at a tipping point.
Privacy is a highly sensitive subject. Yes it has woken people up to having a more secure way of managing their data and transacting. But what are we gaining?
Put simply. There is a need to demonstrate how numbers can be used to understand nuance. To create a work culture in which data-driven-decisions become second nature to how we operate.
My goal is to give the data back.
It is no secret that Big Data drives sales. But, there is little recognition of its power to drive innovation.
In a world where our personal data appears vulnerable to intrusion and exploitation, The Quantified Self Movement needs to be seen, not as an infringement on human rights, but a means of empowerment that encourages you to become your own spy.
Through deep analysis of the simple facts there is huge potential to derive some extremely valuable insight. By combining raw data with external factors, we can learn things about ourselves that would of remained unknown.
We’re still some way off the new Magna Carta that will, at some point, need to establish the ground rules of privacy, power and identity in a digital world. But a new kind of ethical data economy is emerging: one that puts control of our personal information back into the individual’s hands. So we can make better choices. Be happy. Healthy. And (most importantly) Wealthy.
Giving the Information Back