Solutions / My Data Store

My Data Store Developed in Trento

My Data Store Logo Toward a User-Centric Model for Personal Data Management


The evolution and wide adoption of mobile devicesn like smartphones with their capability of collecting contextual information, the success of social networks, and the digitalization of business/personal services have resulted in a tremendous and continuous production of Personal Data (PD). The availability of such a huge amount of data represents an invaluable resource and opportunity for organizations and individuals to enable new applications. However, this also raises new and significant privacy concerns since users are currently excluded from the life-cycle of their data, relegated to the role of PD producer with limited capability to control and to exploit them. In order to unlock the value of PD, this situation imposes a shift from the current organization-centric model toward a new user-centric paradigm for privacy and PD management one as suggested by several initiatives such as the World Economic Forum's "Rethinking Personal Data" initiative [1, 2, 3].

We strongly believe that this change of paradigm and the construction of a fruitful ecosystem of “Personal Big Data” pass through transparency and the empowerment of individuals with an effective control over the management and exploitation of their Personal Data, enabling them to consciously and actively participating to the ecosystem.

We pursue this objective by empowering the member of the Mobile Territorial Lab with a Personal Data Store (PDS) platform specifically designed and developed within the MTL project, that delivers to the users a set of services enabling them to collect, manage, control and exploit their Personal Data generated in mobility during the MTL experience. A Personal Data Store is defined as a secure digital space, owned and controlled by the user, acting as repository for personal information, provided of Personal Data collection, managing and exploration features [4,5].

The PDS can become the tool on top of which to design and develop a new generation of trusty applications (such as Familink), realized in compliance of the principles of the full transparency and the full control over Personal Data by their owners and able to return to individuals the value arising from their data. In such a way tools like the PDS play a key role for the creation of a new user-centric personal data ecosystem, in which new services and application scenarios can be envisaged.

Since April 2013 the access to the MTL Personal Data Store has been gradually granted to all the 100+ MTL community’s members, where they can have full awareness and control over their own Personal Data collected during the MTL experiences.

The Personal Data Store service

The MTL Personal Data Store is currently a web portal with a controlled access that makes available to the granted users a set of tools for managing their PD, collected from several sources. To design our Personal Data Store we focused on three drivers: to empower people with full control over the life-cycle of their PD, to improve their awareness on data and privacy, and finally enable their exploitation and uses accordingly with their needs and wills.

The design of the PDS aimed also at simplifying the user experience by providing people a limited, but clear and powerful set of capabilities. In order to increase users’ awareness and simplify their control, the data collected in the PDS are organized in Data Regions. To support users in understanding the PD meaning and potentials data regions are created by grouping in the same region different data sources w.r.t. their (i) perceptiveness, i.e. considering the information that can be inferred from the data, abstracting from technical details (e.g., both GPS and nearby WiFi AP, bring along the localization concept, etc.) (ii) sensibility to privacy, i.e. data with comparable levels of privacy-risks (e.g., data concerning interactions between individuals, such as calls, SMS, Bluetooth contacts, etc.). Every DR is associated with a name, a couple of icons, a brief description of the information brought by the PD and its list of data sources. At this stage all the My Data Store’s features operate in a uniform way with respect to these regions.

Functionalities

The Personal Data Store includes PD control and exploitation features which cover the entire PD life-cycle (i.e., from the collection to the deletion of a data record). The main functions are:

  • Collection Area: In the Collection Area users can choose how data regions are collected and stored. Users then have a complete set of controls for tuning the settings that best fit with their privacy concerns and usage wills (indeed, the PDS is associate to a collector application, running on the users’ devices, which is the responsible of collecting and sending the information desired by users);
  • Sharing Area: Users can set the disclosure level (none, aggregated anonymous, aggregated nominal, …) of the collected data by granting those who can access them and the level of detail of the associated information (none, demographic, “in clear”). So far the choice concerned only the aggregated disclosure with the participants of the MTL community according to four levels: DON’T SHARE SHARE ANONYMOUSLY SHARE partially NON-ANONYM. SHARE IN CLEAR , but further options will consider in future the disclosure towards different sets of users or third parties
  • Deletion Area: users can delete bunches of PD collected in a specific region and/or time interval, or delete single data records exploiting the auditing views (see below).

[1] World Economic Forum, “Personal Data: The Emergence of a New Asset Class”, 2011, www.weforum.org/reports/personal-data-emergence-new-asset-class.

[2] World Economic Forum, “Rethinking Personal Data: Strengthening Trust”, 2012, www.weforum.org/reports/rethinking-personal-data-strengthening-trust.

[3] World Economic Forum, “Unlocking the Value of Personal Data: From Collection to Usage”, 2013, www.weforum.org/reports/unlocking-value-personal-data-collection-usage.

[4] Y. A. de Montjoye, S. S. Wang, and A. Pentland, “On the trusted use of large-scale personal data,” IEEE Data Eng. Bull., 35(4), 4, 5-8.

[5] C. Moiso, R. Minerva, “Towards a User-Centric Personal Data Ecosystem – The Role of the Bank of Individuals’ Data,” in Proc. 16th International Conference on Intelligence in Next Generation Networks, 2012, 202-209.

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