We might be getting access to personal data but how can we make sense of it?
In the MyData Podcast S01E04 Molly Schwartz hosted Esko Reinikainen for a chat on opportunities and challenges related to personal data.
Esko Reinikainen, a Euro-Finn by ways of France, Belgium and the UK, runs a small company in Wales made up of recovering bureaucrats called The Satori Lab that promotes Connected Era cultures for public sector organizations and runs a node of The Open Data Institute (ODI) in Wales. In addition to promoting a Culture for the Connected Era, Esko helps organizations build their capabilities in data and digital literacy.
The ODI likes to say that data’s a new infrastructure. It’s just this kind of layer that affects everything. And you can either understand it, and leverage its potential, and be okay with it, and benefit from it; or it’s this kind of new thing that’s arrived, like they didn’t talk about these things when you were going through high school, or what have you. So we’re all on a “can I catch up” adaptation curve. And some people are very skilled and adept at using and leveraging the power of data. Whereas the vast majority of people really aren’t. It’s kind of like this dark magic that they don’t understand.
Esko cites a discussion at the last MyData conference with personal data researcher Paul-Olivier Dehaye (http://personaldata.io) who mentioned that even though most people were able to get back their data from the large corporations that aggregate a lot of it, they would not be able to know what to do with it.
Reinikainen believes that we should have personal viewers in which we could send our data and make real sense of it. Real citizen data empowerment and agency will likely not happen before this since only a few have the knowhow to actually do it currently. Esko states we could also do this sensemaking in a collective manner by building tools to assist us so that we could also enable citizen-led collective data agency rather than handle our relationships with the big digital players by ourselves.
GDPR gives us a lot of rights but we should think what we would like to do next. According to Esko getting access to MyData is only the first step. Making sense of the data and being provided an understanding of how companies use algorithms to target and influence us are the likely next steps in the evolution of citizen relationships with data.
MyData is a human centred approach in personal data management that combines industry need to data with digital human rights. MyData is both an alternative vision and guiding technical principles for how we, as individuals, can have more control over the data trails we leave behind us in our everyday actions. The core idea is that we, you and I, should have an easy way to see where data about us goes, specify who can use it, and alter these decisions over time.