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The MyData Movement is Unfolding

The ‘MyData Movement’ came off the ground this week in Helsinki. With the conference MyData2016 we are seeing the beginning of a paradigm shift, where corporate control of personal data will begin shifting to individual data control. ‘The Person is the Platform’, ‘The CEO of your Data’ or the ‘API of Me’ were some of the central words defining the change, where both governments, businesses and individuals have a responsibility in pushing it forward with clever regulation, ethical business practices and consumer demand for privacy tech.

500 people, three days in Helsinki, lots and lots of examples of what to do and not to do from all over the world, and the ‘MyData movement’ is off the ground. Spurred by the sauna-loving Finns and supported by the Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communication we saw so many interesting and visionary example of start-ups, medium-sized entreprises and huge corporations as first-movers in this new field.

The MyData movement is still so new that is has many names: Personal Data Stores (PDS), Personal Information Management Services (PIMS), MyData, Self-Data, Vendor Relationship Mangement (VRM) and so on.

Here are some of the companies and some learnings:

maifMAIF, a French insurance company built in 1944 by teachers and now having 3 mio customers are building a PIMP because: “We are convinced that we have to take another way in the data field (not like GAFA = Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon). It is not a game we can win, and we have another DNA” said Romain Liberge Chief Digital Officer of MAIF. He explained it all by this drawing with GAFA in the closed black boxes on the left side and the solution with distributed trust, that Maif believes in, on the right side.

Humada, a start-up personal data store, run by two Germans, financed mainly by Germans venture-capital but having moved their head quarter (and coming tax payment) to Silicon Valley, because they also get US venture capital (!): Today we have isolated silos giving us limited value from our data. We will disrupt that with a human-centric architecture, was the message from Humada, whose business model is described in this slide:


MesInfos. The French are very active in this new field. The non-profit organisaition in Paris, Fing, has led the MesInfo-experiment and now a pilot, where 7 French companies (banks, insurance, retailers) gave back the personal data to the owners of the data, who could then interact with their data. Some of the learnings are: “Self-confidence or self-efficacy, more than trust, drives consumer engagement. People feel more committed to companies who share data with them,” said Marine Albarede from from Fing. But added: “Generally people do not understand their data and how to use it. Therefore it is very important to provide a service where they can see how to use it.” One such service in the MesInfos project is a small personal finance management service which enabled users not only to see their bank statements, but also to click on each post of their statement and get the details about that, the receipt, warranties related to the purchase, emails behind etc.

Personal data control is digital privacy. And according to one of the speakers, Geoff Revill from Krowdthink, who built a privacy-by-design platform connecting people in places for live conversations, you can get rid of you privacy settings: “If you have privacy settings you’ve failed in privacy,” he said and continued: “With privacy-by-design you don’t need them.” is British and one of the more established personal data stores, and the founder, Katryna Dow, said that a personal data store is something you have to build up over time. But “87% say they want to use their data to create more value. Not only to get dollars, rather to solve a problem.” Dow framed the whole conference calling the phenomenon ‘The Person is the Platform’ or the ‘Api of Me’.

Telecom Italia made some interesting observations when the company did an experimentent in the city of Trento giving citizens access to their own personal data store. According to  Michele Vescovi  they have following learnings: telefomitalia

  • 1 out of 3 say their approach to privacy changed. They are much more aware. However they are not using the tools a lot.  Only 1 out of 10 stayed on after a while.
  • As soon as the data have value to the individual, such as saving time or money, or getting special services, people are happy to share more data. But they are not very interested in knowing so much about themselves.

The results are very early days, and Telecom Italia has built a personal data store which you can see in this short video.

Here you can find most of the presentations from speakers

Here is my presentation at MyData2016 – I spoke the first day on the data ethical company giving examples of LEGO, Clue, TomTom, DATA for GOOD Foundation, Brave and Startmail.

Here you can see the recordings from the conference (after the conference)