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New Book: A Data Democracy Comes With Individual Data Control

The co-founder af, Pernille Tranberg, has written this new book – or booklet – on individual data control. We publish it for free for everybody as individual data control is the prerequisite for a data democracy. The book describes the trend where individuals take back control of their data, not only for the sake of data protection but also to empower themselves with data. Below is the chapter describing the trend, but there are 10 chapters. Do dive into it and do send us feedback on

  1. The Vision
  2. Data-Driven Societies and Business Models
  3. Data Democracy and Individual Data Control
  4. Personal Data Standards
  5. Personal Data Stores
  6. What to Look For In A Personal Data Store
  7. Services to Empower Yourself With Your Data
  8. Shared Responsibility
  9. How To do It Legally
  10. Pros & Cons for the State, for Individuals and Companies

Chapter 3

In a data democracy, it is neither the state nor businesses that control your data. It is you. You control your own life and thus data related to you. A data democracy supports self-determination for people. Ideally, we have personal autonomy and can freely elect politicians without pressure or manipulation.

Various governmental offices and companies each might sit on some of your personal data. But you are in the driver’s seat and retain control of your full profile. That way, you can decide if you want to empower yourself with your data, donate it for larger societal purposes or make it available for other uses.

All over the world, from Finland and Germany to Canada and Japan, companies and governments are working to build data democracies. It is a huge task, as we need a new digital infrastructure, new standards, new ecosystems, services, governance models and audits to make it work. Despite some disadvantages, there are many big benefits and tangible gains for individuals, societies, governments, organisations and companies in building a new digital infrastructure that is truly transparent, open and human-centric.

With the GDPR, Europe took the first step towards a data democracy, where individuals are granted certain rights to their own data such as the right to portability which means getting a usable copy of our data and ‘port’ it somewhere else, for example to a personal data store.

With individual control over your full data puzzle, you might choose to give your doctor access to your calorie counter on your phone in order to get better advice on losing weight, or give the tax collector access to your location data on your phone to prove your daily commute and thus be able to deduct expenses. You might want to grab your Here We Go data or data from your fertility tracking apps and donate them to science. Or you have discovered a service that can help you calculate a less polluted and more scenic bike route to your job in return for seeing your location data.

In a data democracy nobody ‘owns’ your data – not even you. Ownership is a legal term that should not be attached to personal data as if it was real estate. Nobody can own your data, just as nobody can own your body. It is better to call it control. But if a company uses your data – with your approval, of course – in an anonymised analysis and generate new insights, that company owns those insights.

Data democracies in their fullest form don’t exist yet. Therefore, more and more people are learning the basics of digital selfdefense to protect their privacy. Data protection is a fundamental first step in individual data control, and it is very important. But we should think about how we can also benefit from our own data. It is time for individuals to take back control of their data – that is, being in charge of their lives and their opinions.

Go to the book’s landing page and download it for free

Send us feedback on as we will update it on the go