Personal Data Ecosystem talk at Digital Privacy Forum, Jan 20th, 2011 in NYC

This is my talk presented to the Digital Privacy Forum produced by Media Bistro, January 20th, 2011 about Personal Data Ecosystem and the emerging consortium in the space.

Thanks for inviting me here to speak with you today.

The purpose of my talk is to share a new possibility for the future regarding users’ personal data that most have not yet explored. It sits between the two extremes of a familiar spectrum.

On one end, “Do not track” using technology and a legal mandate to prevent any data collection.


On the other end, “Business as usual” leaving the door open for ever more “innovative” pervasive and intrusive data collection and cross referencing.

There is a third possibility that aligns with peoples’ privacy needs as well as offering enormous business opportunities.

A nascent but growing industry of personal data storage services is emerging.  These strive to allow individuals to collect their own personal data to manage it and then give permissioned access to their digital footprint to the business and services they choose—businesses they trust to provide better customization, more relevant search results, and real value for the user from their data.

With other leading industry thinkers, I have come to believe that there is more money to be made in an ecosystem that allows users to determine which businesses have access to what data,and under what terms and conditions, than there is under present more diffused, scattershot, and unethical collection systems. Today I will articulate the broad outlines of this emerging “personal data ecosystem” and talk about developments in the industry.

Those of you who know me will find it unusual for me to have such a keen focus on making money on user data and emerging business models.

I am, after all, known as the “Identity Woman – Saving the World with User-Centric Identity”. Since first learning about issues around identity technologies online in 2003, I have been an end user advocate and industry catalyst.

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Open a Credit card in anybody’s name. . .

It is really scary these days in credit card land.
I am staying with Liz Lawley and shared it with me. Guy gets lots of credit card applications mailed to him. He decides to run and experiment. He rips one of them up tapes it back together then puts his parents address on it and his cel phone number and mails it in to see if they will give him a card. THEY DO and he uses his cel phone number to activate.

Check his site to get the MAKER play by play photos on how he did it.

Basically any theif can steal your credit card applicaitons and get cards in your name mailed to them at any address and use a cel phone to activate.
We have some major security flaws to fix in this world.

Major Market Conversation Disconnect

What do your customers want? Make sure you ask them before you make assumptions. Look at this and its implications:

BC Capital Markets just ran two surveys, one of “mobility experts” who were attending its recent Mobility Evolution Conference, and one of mobile consumers, with alarming results. The “experts” clearly believed that consumers want video products for their mobile phones (63%), and overwhelmingly believed that consumers would tolerate advertising on their phones (72% ). Unfortunately, the same questions elicited quite different results from users, where only 23% expressed any interest in watching video on their mobile phones, and just 20% said they would tolerate cell phone advertising, and that’s only if it lowered their costs. The telecom industry has a long tradition of cluelessness with regard to what its customers really want (metered ISDN, WAP, walled garden portals…), so this really shouldn’t come as a big surprise.

Live from Accelerating Change – DataTao, i-name Cell phone

I am blogging from the soon to be open Accelerating Change Conference.

Andy gave me a ride down here and we talked about the announcement last week of DataTao.

DataTao is going to be an interoperable data hub for user controlled data. DataTao is primarily about programmatic access to an individual’s data and only has as much UI as is needed to richly support its base functionality.

So why do I call it an ‘interoperable’ data hub? That’s because DataTao is designed to act as a bridge between many of the current identity protocols. While DataTao will provide storage for people that don’t have their data stored and available from elsewhere, its main purpose is to consume and forward data from its authoritative source(s).

It is my opinion that DataTao is a necessary and required next step in the evolution of the DataWeb. While DataTao by itself is NOT a compelling application it is a needed piece of infrastructure. It will hopefully encourage and enable people to build internet 2.0 applications and maximize the leverage of those already built.

In order to drive adoption DataTao will provide some Apps that use the DataWeb for persistence in conjunction with the DataTao launch. These apps have not been finalized yet but will likely include Exchange and Mac Mail integration (Self updating address books) as well as a rich interface for person to person profile information sharing (i-share).

I got to meet Ajay of AmSoft for the first time and see the i-names being used on the a cell phone. This is push to communicate asserting preferred mode of communication.

* Choice
* Privacy
* Control

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Building for Peace | Cell Phone Presence

One of the things that I have always been inspired by since first going to Planetwork’s first conference in 2000 is the potential of these tools do do good. Johannes posted this on the Empowered citizen after the London Bombings and is a great reminder to consider why digital identity is important to continue building. While we must continue building we also must think about what we are building and how it can be used. Below is a post I found a while back that reminds us we must think about the implications of the powers we build into these new gadgets.

Empowered connected citizens are what changes the terrorist dynamic.

As a Silicon Valley entrepreneur whose very life is centered around building things, not destroying them, I watch in utter disbelief and complete incomprehension. How can anyone’s goal be total destruction? How can any of them believe anything will come out of these acts, except for more destruction? What sick world view is that?

There is a clear line. There are those who build, and those who destroy. Those who construct, and those who destruct. Deep down, I feel there is little middle ground. You are either with us pushing forward for positive, constructive change, or against us, killing and burning. There cannot be a compromise.

Many asked the question last week: “what can I do, how can I help?” My answer is simple: “Keep building.” Whether you are in high-tech, building new companies, products and markets; or a street sweeper, helping to build a beautiful city; or a parent or teacher, building understanding and new lives; or wherever you are. We, the builders, can build more than they can ever destroy. We can build better and stronger. And we will. We, the builders, will prevail, and there is no doubt about that.

Some interesting issues from the CTO forum on the Entrepreneurship Blog.

Presence information Cell phone providers could exploit.

  • Cellular providers know who you are and where you are as long as your cell phone is on. If you are with a group of people they could detect who you are with.
  • The aggregate statistics and behaviors that could be mined from cell phone presence/position data must be worth billions.
  • The identity and security implication are fun to think about. Your cell phone presence information becomes another part of your digital identity.
  • How much presence information should a cell phone customer share with their peers?
  • Maybe the customer would like to place delay loops for some of their contacts. Do you inform a peer that the information they see is delayed or do you want them to believe it is in real time? Perhaps you want you location to be fuzzy like consumer GPS. How fuzzy? It probably depends on who wants to know.

I was surprised Digital Identity wasn’t discussed.

Next gen phone aps – interesting future identity use.

Found in this article about next generation phone apps with interesting identity applications.

Curious about the people around you? Pantopic takes the openness, and, well, ‘browseability’ of an online community into the real world. Once you install pantopic, your phone becomes like a webpage that only people in your immediate area can read.

The fun part comes when you link up with pantopic groups in your area. Once you do, you’ll be able to get information about who your friends are hanging out with, and where. It’s going to be a few years before a lot of people have this technology. Pantopic tries to solve the saturation problem by focusing on seeing activity in your groups.

Neighbor node