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Paper on Personal Data Platform Cooperatives

Paper. In the current data economy, very few people gain opportunities to control significant amounts of personal data. Control over personal data assets is distributed very unequally across social positions. Most users of are only able to provide consent for specific uses of their own personal data, but they have no power to determine the uses for which their consent may be asked. This is the background for at new paper on Personal Data Platform Cooperative (PDPC) as a means of bringing about John Rawls’s favoured institutional realisation of a just society, the property-owning democracy. It describes personal data platform cooperatives and applies Rawls’s political philosophy to analyse the institutional forms of a just society in relation to the economic power deriving from aggregating personal data. It argues that a society involving a significant number of personal data platform cooperatives will be more suitable to realising Rawls’s principle of fair equality of opportunity.

The paper does not promote the full ownership and control of individual data but that you as an individual has a copy of your data from various places and thus control the full picture of yourself.

PDPCs provide a governance model for personal data aggregators and providers of data-driven services based on two essential features:

  1. a personal data management platform (PDMP) empowering individuals to collect, aggregate and control (copies of) their personal data from different sources (e.g., genomic data, e-health records, and e-commerce data), enabling clients to choose what data to share and with whom; and

  2. democratic procedures that enable cooperative members to make collective choices

Following are examples of decisions that PDPC members could make collectively: whether genetic data should be collected by the platform, whether such data should be made accessible for commercial services in general, and whether transactions involving genetic data with insurance companies should be allowed, and if so, in what form and with what constraints. While the cooperative as a whole defines the structure and possibilities enabled by the data-sharing environment, individuals make their own decisions about whether to share their personal data.

Read the full paper here