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MyData Journal

MyData 2017 — Global landscape session

Data has always been the lifeblood of any organisation and an integral part of the UK and global economy. Fresh from presenting at the MyData 2017 conference, Michele Nati, Lead Technologist on Data and Trust at Digital Catapult talks about topics presented and key learnings.

And the value of data is increasing. Organisations have discovered that data can be turned into knowledge and will help to power future artificial-intelligence (AI) technologies, some of which will generate new sources of revenue. And that’s just for starters. Innovative businesses are being encouraged to develop business models that make the most of this new resource.

That said, to avoid large fines, organisations need to be mindful of new regulations and explore new approaches to personal data. In fact, time is ticking as by May 2018 the EU General Data Protection Regulation will request for more transparency and consumer access on how companies collect, store and use such growing amounts of personal data. Many are fearing it, but Helen Dixon, the data protection commissioner for Ireland, who has major technology company offices under her jurisdiction, says the new regulation was needed and is a positive move.

A good place to understand how to create transparent, compliant, user-managed services making use of personal data came via MyData 2017, a conference (now in its second year) has quickly established itself as the go to event that demonstrates and discusses technical, legal and economic initiatives in the Personal Data Economy.

Other than contributing to peoples understanding of the value of Personal Data — estimated to be worth £322 billion to the UK by 2020[1] — the 2nd conference presented key topics surrounding the personal data landscape. Over a couple of days there were a number of sessions and a rich program of speakers. At the event, I:

  1. Chaired and moderated the Global Landscape, which included tracking, exploring, collecting and sharing learnings from different national “MyData” (e.g., human-controlled personal data) initiatives.
  2. Shared Digital Catapult’s vision for smart-health in a five-minute session around Blockchain and Health.
  3. Presented the results of Digital Catapult’s Personal Data Receipt (PDR) project, which seeks to increase transparency of Privacy Policies.

For points 2 and 3, Digital Catapult plans to publish a PDR white paper and a dissemination paper on smart-health. However, before then, I want to briefly share findings and lessons learnt from the Global Landscape session.

For this session, there were three key addresses where each presenter spoke on creating successful personal data initiatives led by users.

  1. NTT Data: The Platform for Personal Data Distribution (Japan), presented by Masahiro Hanatani
  2. The rise and fall of personal data services — pattern of success and failure, presented by Wil Jansen
  3. MesInfos and the Rainbow Button (France), presented by Daniel Kaplan\

Noteworthy take away points shared by the speakers included:

  1. In Japan, there is a government initiative to give individuals back control over their taxation data. This Government initiative became a first mover, now incentivising banks to offer their customers control over the data they collect about them, in return of the savings achieved from accessing such data directly from their customers.
  2. In France, energy companies are facing trust issues following the installation of energy meters. Need to build trust is acting as driver for a more user-centric data process in this sector. To regain public trust, energy providers are contributing to initiatives that aim to give individuals control over how their data is collected and shared.
  3. Personal data of an individual is more valuable when it can be linked among them. This demands for a uniqueID or a framework to link existing ones. Most of the government’s unique digital ID cannot be used for private functions and by private organisations (mainly for political reasons). Carefully developing such unique ID is a priority for supporting viable personal data initiatives.
  4. Government, bank and insurance companies seem better placed to give individuals control over their data as they can leverage the bank uniqueID, and from that, identify clear business cases and monetary benefits derived from aggregating such data, under users’ informed consent. That said, unethical use needs to be safeguarded by establishing overarching initiatives on data governance.[2]
  5. Surveys confirm that individuals would expect payment in range of $10 per data access, while organisations can only pay around 1c. Better, cheaper and more personalised services need to provide alternative incentives for individuals. Proper communication of received benefits needs to be considered.
  6. In the Netherlands, health-related use cases and business cases that leverage personal data are more likely to succeed than other types. Surveys confirm that individuals prefer to share their data if more personalised and better healthcare can be delivered. Similar opportunities should be explored in other countries.
  7. SMEs don’t have the capability and trustworthiness to build infrastructure for personal data sharing, due the associated risks and liability. This should be left to a private-public partnership between government and a large system integrator.
  8. SMEs need to focus on service provisioning by using clear business models and transparent solutions that satisfy customer demand for trustworthy applications.

At the end of the session, participants were asked to share and vote on what they had learnt. They recognised that governments have a crucial role to play in fostering trust by becoming the first to provide users with control over their personal data access or supporting the building of a personal data sharing infrastructure. In addition, most of the participants also recognised how upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and in particular its Article 20 on the right to Data Portability will create an additional driver for companies to explore new user-centric business models for personal data use and sharing. This will be integral in the fight to retain customers.

Michele Nati



[1] City A.M. — The business sector that could blow Britain’s NHS and defence budget

[2] Data management and use: Governance in the 21st century



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Michele Nati, PhD

Michele Nati, PhD

Head of Telco & Infrastructure@IOTA Foundation, data and digital trust expert, Internet of Things researcher. Runner.