Trusting Information Access

Angel Maldonado
May 5, 2020 · 3 min read

Does trust need to be compromised to deliver personalised digital products?

The sophistication of digital products of whatever kind through personalisation has become a default standard. For example, every Commerce, Search or Navigation product is able to provide results that are influenced by actions which the user has performed in the past, increasing the quality of relevancy by increasing the quality of context.

At first, it seems pleasant to enjoy digital experiences that takes into account what we have done in the past, however, consumers have started to judge the required digital surveillance as an act that violates their digital privacy, a new sensitivity that is acquiring a completely different dimension when physical and digital unite.

Trust, and the unquestionable value of respecting the consumer’s sphere of privacy, call into question the use of profiling data to advance and sophisticate whatever digital product.

I strongly believe that digital products that sacrifice profiling to deliver truly privacy by design experiences, are perfectly capable of delivering fascinating capabilities when Digital Empathy is put int action through expression (to evoke joy), anticipation (to evoke understanding) and privacy (to evoke trust).

In this thinking, my team and I aspire to evolve digital products higher decentralisation, one inspired by VRM principles.

In this light, the Solid framework offers an ideal playground to experiment with some of these concepts where search and contextualization services would be based on decentralised data stored in Pods where user rights and personal data control prevail.

What if?

  • The index is not constructed from a catalogue data feed, but from a user profile. A search where the user is the core-collection.
  • The query is not constructed from a user’s profile, but from a catalogue data feed? A search where the store is the query-attributes.

Rather than personalising users, such product would personalise Brands.

Currently, user-segmented digital trails are personalized in a store. With this vision, this personalization would be reversed.

User’s data (views, clicks, purchases, affinities) will made the core of the search index, therefore machine learning models, sciences and automation will be executed within each individual’s Pod and what’s more, Insights, Reports and Metrics will serve the consumer.

All in all, we would be offering a sustainable approach that roots its purpose in respecting, nurturing and endorsing users privacy with what users own.

A model made to accord with the most ambitious interpretation of Privacy, one that treats digital no differently than physical.

In this light, Empathy’s Solid project seeks to bring digital interactions within the sphere of trust, and in doing so, unlock a fascinating world of possibilities where the user and not the brand is the center.

I believe that Information Retrieval conceived in this manner will allow consumers to bring devices (Things) to their circle of trust and consequently entitle these devices as extensions or even augmentations of the consumer’s interest and transacting capacity.

The extraordinary proliferation of brands — the incorporation into the digital landscape of the many vendors, shops and local stores within our communities — reveals an extreme demand-driven ecosystem in which we live, one where our devices — if trusted — can publish our needs as tenders, one where brands, shops and suppliers can propose to fulfil, one where the consumer becomes the brand and the brand becomes the consumer of each individual’s needs, a model where brands are to personalize to users and not the other way around.

Helping brands provide irresistible search.

Helping brands provide irresistible search. Pairing software with interfaces to combine function and beauty in one. From mere results to meaningful relations and engaging interactions.

Angel Maldonado

Written by

Founder & CEO at

Helping brands provide irresistible search. Pairing software with interfaces to combine function and beauty in one. From mere results to meaningful relations and engaging interactions.

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