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Breaking up big tech isn’t enough. We need to break them open

- February 27, 2020 in Open Knowledge, Open Knowledge Foundation, personal-data

From advocates, politicians and technologists, calls for doing something about big tech grow louder by the day. Yet concrete ideas are few or failing to reach the mainstream. This post covers what breaking up big tech would mean and why it’s not enough. I propose an open intervention that will give people a real choice and a way out of controlled walled gardens. Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple are not natural monopolies and we need to regulate them to support competition and alternative business models.

What’s the problem?

As a social species, our social and digital infrastructure is of vital importance. Just think of the postal service that even in the most extreme circumstances, would deliver letters to soldiers fighting on the front lines. There’s a complicated and not-risk-free system that makes this work, and we make it work, because it matters. It is so important for us to keep in touch with our loved ones, stay connected with news and what’s happening in our communities, countries and the planet. Our ability to easily and instantly collaborate and work with people halfway across the world is one of the wonders of the Information Age. The data we collect can help us make better decisions about our environment, transport, healthcare, education, governance and planning. It should be used to support the flourishing of all people and our planet. But right now, so much of this data, so much of our social digital infrastructure, is owned, designed and controlled by a tiny elite of companies, driven by profit. We’re witnessing the unaccountable corporate capture of essential services, reliance on exploitative business models and the increasing dominance of big tech monopolies. Amazon, Facebook, Google, Apple and Microsoft use their amassed power to subvert the markets which they operate within, stifling competition and denying us real choice. Amazon has put thousands of companies out of business, leaving them the option to sell on their controlled platform or not sell at all. Once just a digital bookstore, Amazon now controls over 49% of the US digital commerce market (and growing fast) — selling everything from sex toys to cupcakes. Facebook (who, remember, also own Instagram and WhatsApp) dominates social, isolating people who don’t want to use their services. About a fifth of the population of the entire planet (1.6 billion) log in daily. They control a vast honeypot of personal data, vulnerable to data breaches, influencing elections and enabling the spread of misinformation. It’s tough to imagine a digital industry Google doesn’t operate in. These companies are too big, too powerful and too unaccountable. We can’t get them to change their behaviour. We can’t even get them to pay their taxes. And it’s way past time to do something about this.

Plans to break up monopolies

Several politicians are calling for breaking up big tech. In the USA, presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren wants two key interventions. One is to reverse some of the bigger controversial mergers and acquisitions which have happened over the last few years, such as Facebook with WhatsApp and Instagram, while going for a stricter interpretation and enforcement of anti-trust law. The other intervention is even more interesting, and an acknowledgement of how much harm comes from monopolies who are themselves intermediaries between producers and consumers. Elizabeth Warren wants to pass “legislation that requires large tech platforms to be designated as ‘Platform Utilities’ and broken apart from any participant on that platform”. This would mean that Amazon, Facebook or Google could not both be the platform provider and sell their own services and products through the platform. The EU has also taken aim at such platform power abuse. Google was fined €2.4 billion by the European Commission for denying “consumers a genuine choice by using its search engine to unfairly steer them to its own shopping platform”. Likewise, Amazon is currently under formal investigation for using their privileged access to their platform data to put out competing products and outcompete other companies’ products. Meanwhile, in India, a foreign-owned company like Amazon is already prohibited from being a vendor on their own electronic market place.

Breaking up big tech is not enough

While break up plans will go some way to address the unhealthy centralisation of data and power, the two biggest problems with big tech monopolies will remain:
  1. It won’t give us better privacy or change the surveillance business models used by tech platforms; and
  2. It won’t provide genuine choice or accountability, leaving essential digital services under the control of big tech.
The first point relates to the toxic and anti-competitive business models increasingly known as ‘Surveillance capitalism’. Smarter people than me have written about the dangers and dark patterns that emerge from this practice. When the commodity these companies profit from is your time and attention, these multi-billion companies are incentivised to hook you, manipulate you and keep dialing up the rampant consumerism which is destroying our planet. Our privacy and time is constantly exploited for profit. The break ups Warren proposes won’t change this. The second point means it still wouldn’t become it easier for other companies to compete or to experiment with alternative business models. Right now, it’s near impossible to compete with Facebook and Amazon since their dominance is built on ‘network effects’. Both companies strictly police their user network and data. People aren’t choosing these platforms because they are better, they default to them because that’s where everyone else is. Connectivity and reach is vital for people to communicate, share, organise and sell — there’s no option but to go where most people already are. So we’re increasingly locked in. We need to make it possible for other providers and services to thrive.

Breaking big tech open

Facebook’s numerous would-be competitors don’t fail through not being good enough or failing to get traction, or even funding. Path was beautiful and had many advantages over Facebook. Privacy-preserving Diaspora got a huge amount of initial attention. Scuttlebutt has fantastic communities. Alternatives do exist. None of them have reduced the dominance of Facebook. The problem is not a lack of alternatives, the problem is closed design, business model and network effects. What Facebook has, that no rival has, is all your friends. And where it keeps them is in a walled off garden which Facebook controls. No one can interact with Facebook users without having a Facebook account and agreeing to Facebook’s terms and conditions (aka surveillance and advertising). Essentially, Facebook owns my social graph and decides on what terms I can interact with my friends. The same goes for other big social platforms: to talk to people on LinkedIn, I have to have a LinkedIn account; to follow people on Twitter, I must first sign up to Twitter and so on. As users we take on the burden of maintaining numerous accounts, numerous passwords, sharing our data and content with all of these companies, on their terms. It doesn’t have to be this way. These monopolies are not natural, they are monopolies by design — choosing to run on closed protocols and walling off their users in silos. We need to regulate Facebook and others to force them to open up their application programme interfaces (APIs) to make it possible for users to have access to each other across platforms and services.

Technically, interoperability is possible

There are already examples of digital social systems which don’t operate as walled gardens: email for example. We don’t expect Google to refuse to deliver an email simply because we use an alternative email provider. If I send an email to a Gmail account from my Protonmail, FastMail or even Hotmail account — it goes through. It just works. No message about how I first have to get a Gmail account. This, fundamentally, is the reason email has been so successful for so long. Email uses an open protocol, supported by Google, Microsoft and others (probably due to being early enough, coming about in the heady open days of the web, before data mining and advertising became the dominant forces they are today … although email is increasingly centralised and dominated by Google). While email just works, a technology that’s very similar, such as instant messaging, doesn’t. We have no interoperability, which means many of us have upward of four different chat apps on our phones and have to remember which of our friends are on Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp (owned by Facebook), Signal, Wire, Telegram, etc.  We don’t carry around five phones so why do we maintain accounts with so many providers, each storing our personal details, each with a different account and password to remember? This is because these messaging apps use their own, closed, proprietary protocols and harm usability and accessibility in the process. This is not in the interests of most people. Interoperability and the use of open protocols would transform this, offering us a better experience and control over our data while reducing our reliance on any one platform. Open protocols can form the basis of a shared digital infrastructure that’s more resilient and would help us keep companies that provide digital services, accountable. It would make it possible to leave and choose whose services we use.

What would this look like in practice?

Say I choose to use a privacy-preserving service for instant messaging, photo sharing and events — possibly one of the many currently available today, or even something I’ve built or host myself. I create an event and I want to invite all my friends, wherever they are. This is where the open protocol and interoperability come in. I have some friends using the same service as me, many more scattered across Twitter, Facebook and other social services, maybe a few just on email. If these services allow interconnections with other services, then every person, wherever they are, will get my event invite and be able to RSVP, receive updates and possibly even comment (depending on what functionality the platforms support). No more getting left out as the cost of caring about privacy. Interoperability would be transformational. It would mean that:
  1. I can choose to keep my photos and data where I have better access, security and portability. This gives us greater control over our data and means that…
  2. Surveillance is harder and more expensive to do. My data will not all be conveniently centralised for corporations or governments to use in unaccountable ways I haven’t agreed to. Privacy ❤
  3. I won’t lose contact with, leave out, or forget friends who aren’t on the same platform as me. I can choose services which serve my needs better, not based on the fear of social exclusion or missing out. Hooray for inclusion and staying friends!
  4. I’ll be less stressed trying to remember and contact people across different platforms with different passwords and accounts (e.g. this currently requires a Facebook event, email, tweets, WhatsApp group reminders and Mastodon, Diaspora and Scuttlebutt posts for siloed communities…)
  5. Alternative services, and their alternative business models and privacy policies become much more viable! Suddenly, a whole ecosystem of innovation and experimentation is possible which is out of reach for us today. (I’m not saying it will be easy. Finding sustainable funding and non-advertising-based business models will still be hard and will require more effort and systemic interventions, but this is a key ingredient).
Especially this last point, the viability of creating alternatives, would start shifting the power imbalance between Facebook and its users (and regulators), making Facebook more accountable and incentivising them to be responsive to user wants and needs. Right now Facebook acts as it pleases because it can — it knows its users are trapped. As soon as people have meaningful choice, exploitation and abuse become much harder and more expensive to maintain.

So, how do we get there?

In the first instance, regulating Facebook, Twitter and others to make them open up their APIs so that other services can read/write to Facebook events, groups, messages etc. would be the first milestone. Yes, this isn’t trivial and there are questions to work out, but it can be done. Looking ahead, investing now in developing open standards for our social digital infrastructure is a must. Funders and governments should be supporting the work and adoption of open protocols and standards — working with open software and services to refine, test and use these standards and see how they work in practice over time. We’ll need governance mechanisms for evolving and investing in our open digital infrastructure that includes diverse stakeholders and accounts for power imbalances between them. We use platforms which have not been co-designed by us and on terms and conditions we have little say over. Investment into alternatives have largely failed outside of more authoritarian countries that have banned or blocked the likes of Google and Facebook. We need to do more to ensure our data and essential services are not in the hands of one or two companies, too big to keep accountable. And after many years of work and discussions on this, I believe openness and decentralisation must play a central role. Redecentralize.org and friends are working on a campaign to figure out how to make this a reality. Is this something you’re working on already or want to contribute and get invited to future workshops and calls? Then ping me on hello@redecentralize.org. The opportunity is huge. By breaking big tech open, we can build a fairer digital future for all, so come get involved! • This blogpost is an reposted version of a post originally published on the Redecentralize blog

The rise of MyData in Japan and discussions around personal data use

- August 14, 2019 in japan, mydata, OK Japan, personal-data

On May 15, 2019, MyData Japan conference was held in Tokyo, co-organized by Open Knowledge Japan and MyData Japan. Open Knowledge Japan has been organizing MyData Japan conferences for the past 3 times (2017, 2018, and 2019), and the movement has been growing steadily. Interests from the corporate sector has been the strongest, with 22 companies providing support for the conference. Another sign of the growth is the fact that this year, the conference is co-organized for the first time with MyData Japan, a newly incorporated entity dedicated to the advancement of MyData agendas in Japan. Open Knowledge Japan’s activities and network has led to a number of projects and organizations, including Open Spending Japan and Code 4 Japan. MyData Japan is probably the latest of such spin-offs, involving some of the active OK Japan members. 

© 2019 MyDataJapan.org & MyData.org, from: https://mydatajapan.org/events/mydata-japan-2019.html, license: CC-BY 4.0.

Like the previous two times, it featured a wide variety of speakers from civic, academic, and corporate sectors, including some guests from abroad. The topics discussed included personal data protection, democracy and data, ID and authentication, system architecture for the data reuse, AI and ethics of data use, overseas policy developments, data portability, and many others. If I pick one, an open source software for personal data store (PDS), Personium, presented by its project lead Mr. Shimono. He envisioned the loose federation of PDS’ connecting individual users of the software. In general, different speakers had different views on the degree to which data should be centrally hosted and/or managed by a trusted agent or fiduciary.  Behind the growth of the movement in Japan is the increasing awareness of the importance of data reuse and data protection. The Japanese government has been exploring ways to promote data reuse, based on its 2016 version of “Japan Revitalization Strategy,” a comprehensive economic growth strategy package. Japanese government has funded some pilot projects, and developed a guideline for certification of such entity. The issue was put forth for a part of the G20 meetings with the concept of Data Free Flow with Trust (DFFT). More specifically, the mechanism for better flow of data is conceived as information bank lately. The idea is somewhat close to that of data trust discussed in the UK and other countries. Individuals can decide to deposit information to a trusted entity, an information bank, which in turn will provide the data to a third party and return a portion of economic gains back to the individuals. An industry association picked up the task of certification of information banks. The extent it will succeed is yet to be seen, but Japan has at least seen the expectation leading to a formation of an institution. The MyData conference has discussed the concept of information bank in the past, and this conference happened right around the time the information bank becomes a reality.  Lately Japanese news media and social media discussed some services making potentially inappropriate use of personal data. One is Yahoo! Japan’s credit score service, providing credit scores of their users to various businesses, based on users’ transaction records (such as missed payments and cancellation rate of restaurant reservations) and other personal data. Questions raised on that service by various experts and concerned citizens included whether proper consent was obtained prior to the service, and if Yahoo! Japan users (data subjects) deserved to know what their score was. The company quickly responded by adding explanations to its website addressing users. Another interesting case is the rating of job seekers by Recruit Career, whose platform Rikunabi is one of the largest in Japan. The rating was specifically about the estimated chance of job applicants to decline the non-final job offer from a specific company. The platform presumably had data on the applicant’s browsing history, contacting with other companies, and possibly other data. The Recruit Career admitted that they used personal data of nearly 8,000 users inappropriately, and scrapped the service. Some government investigation has started into the matter. While Open Knowledge Japan has not issued any official comments on any of these, it’s chair commented critically on various aspects, emphasizing corporate responsibility to gain proper understanding from the individuals. 

(photo by Mitya Ivanov from Unsplash)

Overall, OK Japan and its members have been actively involved in the discussions on the policies and practices of personal data use, on how to properly communicate with individuals, how best to handle data, and so on, which are still very much actively ongoing issues. 

Open Knowledge and MyData – same roots, shared values

- August 8, 2019 in Featured, finland, mydata, network, personal-data

The origins of MyData can be traced back to the Open Knowledge Festival held in Finland in 2012. There, a small group of people gathered in a breakout session to discuss what ought to be done with the kind of data that cannot be made publicly available and entirely open, namely personal data. Over the years, more and more people who had similar ideas about personal data converged and found each other around the globe. Finally, in 2016, a conference entitled MyData brought together thinkers and doers who shared a vision of a human-centric paradigm for personal data and the community became aware of itself. The MyData movement, which has since gathered momentum and grown into an international community of hundreds of people and organisations, shares many of its most fundamental values with the open movement from which it has spun off. Openness and transparency in collection, processing, and use of personal data; ethical and socially beneficial use of data; cross-sectoral collaboration; and democratic values are all legacies of the open roots of MyData and hard-wired into the movement itself. The MyData movement was sustained originally through annual conferences held in Helsinki and attended by data professionals in their hundreds. These were made possible by the support of the Finnish chapter of Open Knowledge, who acted as their main organiser. As the years passed and the movement matured, in the autumn of 2018, the movement formalised into its own organisation, MyData Global. Headquartered in Finland, the organisation’s international staff of six, led by general manager Teemu Ropponen, now facilitate the growing community with local hubs in over 20 locations on six continents, a fourth Helsinki-based conference in September 2019, and the continued efforts of the movement to bring about positive change in the way personal data is used globally. The MyData 2019 Conference will attract some 800-1000 people from around the world. It is an associated event of Finland’s EU Presidency organised in Wanha Satama in central Helsinki. The conference provides three days of interactive sessions, networking opportunities and inspiration that will contribute to rebuilding trust for a human-centred data economy. Over 100 speakers will be presenting in the following tracks: Making Identity Work, Ecosystems and Operators, Governance, Cities, Empowerment through Agency, Crossing the Chasm, MyAI, Health, Design and more! The Next Generation Internet Forum is organised at the opening day of MyData 2019. 

Join MyData 2019 conference with a special discount code!

If you want to learn more about MyData, join the MyData 2019 conference on 25-27 September 2019. As we love making friends, we would like to offer you a discount code of 10% for business and discounted ticket. Use MyDataFriend and claim your ticket now via mydata2019.org/tickets. The normal price tickets are valid until 1 September.

MyData Global has elected its first board of directors

- December 12, 2018 in OK Finland, personal-data

Over 70 organisations and close to 500 individuals have formed MyData Global, a nonprofit to promote the ethical use of personal data and to strengthen digital human rights. On 15 November 2018, over 130 members participated in the first general meeting of the organisation, which elected its first board of directors from among 24 candidates. The board combines a diverse mix of backgrounds and expertise and includes seven members from seven different countries. The elected board members are:
  • Mad Ball (USA), PhD, combining technology and advocacy
  • Paul-Olivier Dehaye (Switzerland), researcher and data protection activist
  • Riikka Kämppi (Finland), communications specialist
  • Sarah Medjek (France), project coordinator and researcher
  • Julian Ranger (UK), serial entrepreneur & engineer
  • Berit Skjernaa (Denmark), senior security and privacy specialist
  • John Wunderlich (Canada), privacy expert
The founding of MyData Global is the result of several years of work. It has connected personal data experts and practitioners from all over the globe into a collaborative network, who have been gathering in annual conferences in Helsinki, Finland, since 2016. The fourth MyData 2019 conference, an associated event of the Finnish EU-presidency in the second half of 2019, will be organised from 25-27 September, 2019. “After many years of hard work to build up a strong community around a common vision, it is amazing to see a global movement reach this level of maturity. Formalising legal structures and procedures is just an enabling step to reach our vision much faster”, explains board member Paul Olivier-Dehaye, researcher and a renowned data protection activist. “Stay tuned for a lot more!”

The award-winning initiative works for a more just, sustainable and prosperous digital society

The MyData initiative was recently awarded the NGI Culture Award (European commission’s “Next Generation Internet” -initiative) as one of the most impactful European initiatives shaping a new culture around Next Generation Internet. The purpose of MyData Global is to empower individuals by improving their right to self-determination regarding their personal data. The human-centric paradigm aims at a fair, sustainable, and prosperous digital society, where the sharing of personal data is based on trust as well as a balanced and fair relationship between individuals and organisations. “I am honored to be elected for the board of an organisation that I consider very important. Not only do I consider the principles and mindset of MyData to be a fundamental human right, I also see it as a keystone for sustainability in the digital world and beyond by empowering people to cooperate on a more enlightened level”, says board member Berit Skjernaa, senior security and privacy specialist at Alexandra Institute in Aarhus, Denmark, and coordinator of MyData activities in Denmark. The fair use of personal data is one of the defining issues of tomorrow’s internet. AI and other technological developments rely on data generated by and about individuals, and MyData provides a paradigm for guiding those in a way that is based on trust and benefits people. “MyData is a necessity in our information society, and we – as the MyData community – have the unique opportunity to move personal data from protection to empowerment, and MyData from a concept to THE new paradigm,” rejoices board member Sarah Medjek, researcher and project coordinator at the think and do that FING in France. Application for membership is open to all individuals and organisations who support the mission of MyData Global.

Bonus: Are you or do you know a project manager for MyData 2019 conference?

MyData Global are looking for a full-time project manager for the MyData 2019 conference. They wish to find someone who shares the values they work for and which guide the work. It’s a great opportunity to help make a difference in the world and shape the future of the internet and society.
See the full job description here: mydata.org/jobs

OpenSchufa: The first results

- November 29, 2018 in germany, mydata, OK Germany, personal-data

This blog has been reposted from the Open Knowledge Foundation Germany blog In early 2018 the Open Knowledge Foundation Germany (OKFDE) and Algorithm-Watch launched the project OpenSCHUFA, which works on reverse-engineering the algorithms of the Schufa, Germany’s credit rating system. This week the first analyses of OpenSchufa dataset are published. The data teams and editorial offices of Bayerischer Rundfunk and SpiegelOnline have evaluated the anonymous data that has been collected with the help of our „mydata“ project OpenSchufa since this spring. In the last 10 months this project generated 100,000 individual data requests in Germany. Out of these, more than 30,000 were directed at Schufa and resulted in more than 3,000 data donations to us. Many thanks to all the people who donated money, time and especially their data and supported this project with other resources!

These are the most important findings:

  • Bad scores even without negative characteristics
Many people have bad Schufa scores, although they have no negative characteristics. Our data implies that the Schufa lists some people as „higher risk“ even if they don’t have negative data on them. This means: Apparently the Schufa algorithm is error-prone. Even if people who have no debts or defaults get bad scores, the scoring procedure is broken.
  • Allegedly accurate scores despite inaccurate data
The Schufa scores suggest to the public that they are particularly scientifically prepared. Part of this image is generated by the alleged accuracy of scores such as 85.04% or 97.41%. However, the information is misleading. The Schufa often lacks the data to make reliable statements about the creditworthiness of individuals. In almost a fourth of the people in our dataset, the Schufa has a maximum of three data points on users. In these cases, the score is not particularly trustworthy.
  • Factors: Age, sex and moves
The OpenSchufa data set suggests that factors such as age, gender and many moves affect the Schufa score. For example, young men are often worse off. This means that even aspects that cannot be influenced could cause negative Schufa scores. At the moment, it is not possible to say with the data how exactly the factors affect the respective score and whether the Schufa will include them individually in the calculation or combine them. It is very possible that the scores discriminate.
  • Some scores have fallen out of time
In many areas, the Schufa holds several score versions from one scoring area over individuals. As a result, for example, people have a worse score after version 1 of the Schufa Bank Score than after version 2 or version 3 of the Schufa Bank Score. Those who are unlucky that a bank requests an older score version from the Schufa have worse cards in such an example. The fact that the older score versions are still being released apparently leads to biases.

This results in these demands:

Thanks to OpenSchufa, the German Advisory Council for Consumer Affairs (SVRV) at the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection has already written a paper with scoring transparency. SRVR advocated that the Schufa and other scoring providers disclose their algorithm. Characteristics and weighting of the Scores must become understandable for the consumer. As the results of OpenSchufa also show, possible discrimination must be examined and disclosed. A central problem at Schufa is obviously the quality of the score and the data on which it is based. Further reporting by Bayerischer Rundfunk has already shown that the supervision of Schufa and other scoring providers is inadequate. The Schufa itself pays for the reports that should actually review it independently. The Federal Ministry has already announced that it will examine the Council’s recommendations. In addition to transparency, Schufa should also accept its responsibility in society. This includes that the Schufa should cooperate constructively with researchers, journalists and civil society. So far, the Schufa press office has attracted attention primarily because it intimidates journalists.

And what about the Schufa algorithm?

We are currently working on reliably deciphering various aspects of the Schufa formula. The challenge: Of around 30,000 data acccess requests that users have sent to Schufa via selbstauskunft.net, only around 3,000 data records have been forwarded to us. Nevertheless, we try to make further reliable statements about the Schufa algorithm and continue to work with the data set. Originally, we had planned to address targeted calls to specific population groups in order to obtain data from them in the event of distortions in the data. However, this is no longer possible at present. Since the data protection regulation (GDPR) was applied in May, Schufa has given significantly less data to individuals than before. Data donations of Schufa information are therefore not usable for us since May.

What’s next?

Together with our partner AlgorithmWatch we continue to work on the evaluation of the data and hope to be able to derive further insights from the data soon. Afterwards we want to give further recommendations for legal regulations. Also important: Schufa currently still refuses to provide free information by e-mail, although the GDPR obliges them to. We will work to ensure that Schufa complies with this obligation. The Schufa is the beginning, but not the end. We need more transparency for all scoring providers in Germany and Europe.

Schufa reporting on the 28th of November (in German)

German version of this article with more frequent updates

For further inquiries

Walter Palmetshofer, Open Knowledge Foundation Deutschland, walter.palmetshofer@okfn.de, +49 30 57703666 0  

The first non-profit organisation dedicated to defending digital human rights, MyData Global, is founded

- October 19, 2018 in Featured, mydata, OK Finland, personal-data

PRESS RELEASE, 16th October 2018 Over 100 people from over 20 countries took part in the founding meeting of the MyData Global nonprofit organisation last Thursday, October 11. The purpose of MyData Global is to empower individuals by improving their right to self-determination regarding their personal data. The human-centric paradigm is aimed at a fair, sustainable, and prosperous digital society, where the sharing of personal data is based on trust as well as a balanced and fair relationship between individuals and organisations. “We need new ground rules for the use of personal data. We currently live in a world where large companies collect unprecedented amounts of data about people and do as they please with it. This has led to numerous abuses with shocking global consequences. The MyData model is a vision for new and fair practices, design principles, and their implementation. Founding the MyData Global organisation is a huge step in the right direction,” explains MyData researcher and founding member Antti Jogi Poikola. A milestone reached Establishing the organisation is the result of several years’ work. And since 2016, the MyData movement has gathered personal data experts and practitioners from all over the globe at its annual conferences in Helsinki, Finland. The movement has self-organised into a network of over 20 local hubs spread over six continents, which all work together to further the cause of digital human rights in different domains of society. The MyData Global organisation formalises this network and continues the work of influencing the development of digital markets to better respect the rights of individuals. “The time is now ripe for an organisation that seeks to enable a fairer and more balanced digital society globally. Personal data has enormous potential for making our lives easier and our societies better. Used in a way that is respectful of individuals and the standards of fairness, personal data also creates limitless opportunities for successful business. A fair trade logo on a packet of coffee is a familiar and trusted guarantee that the coffee is responsibly sourced and also a reason to favour it. Why do we not ask for the same kind of guarantee that the applications and services we use are based only on personal data that is responsibly and transparently acquired and treated with respect,” asks MyData activist and founding member Viivi Lähteenoja. The first general meeting of MyData Global will be held on 15 November 2018 in Barcelona, Spain. During the meeting, a full board of directors will be elected. The meeting is open to all and remote participation is available. Application for membership is now open to individuals and organisations. For more information, visit https://mydata.org/ or get in touch via https://mydata.org/contact/

Suomi digitaalisten henkilötietojen edelläkävijäksi – maailman johtavat asiantuntijat Helsingissä elokuussa

- July 4, 2018 in data protection, Events, Featured, human-centered approach, My Data, mydata, omadata, personal-data, privacy

Palvelujen digitalisoituminen on synnyttänyt kasvavan määrän henkilötietojen kertymistä eri palveluntarjoajille. Samaan aikaan kuluttajien luottamus henkilötietojen asialliseen käyttöön on heikentynyt.

Suomalaiset asiantuntijat, aktivistit ja yritykset ovat eturintamassa kehittämässä tulevaisuuden mallia digitaalisten henkilötietojen hallintaan. Tavoitteena on rakentaa maailmanlaajuinen toimintamalli, jossa yksilö voi itse määritellä millaisin ehdoin hänen tietojaan käytetään. Reilu datatalous hyödyttää kaikkia ja avaa uusia mahdollisuuksia eettisesti kestävään liiketoimintaan.

Liikenne- ja viestintäministeriön tänään julkaisema raportti (https://www.lvm.fi/-/suomi-toimii-omadata-mallin-suunnannayttajana-980281), Sitran IHANⓇ-hanke ja elokuussa Helsingin Kulttuuritalolla järjestettävä MyData 2018 -konferenssi vievät maailmanlaajuisten yhteisten pelisääntöjen kehittämistä aimo harppauksen eteenpäin.

”Toukokuussa 2018 voimaan astunut EU:n tietosuoja-asetus GDPR on merkittävä askel oikeaan suuntaan. Tämä asetus ei kuitenkaan yksin riitä takaamaan oikeudenmukaista tietoyhteiskuntaa tai ruokkimaan innovatiivista liiketoimintaa ja teknologiaa. Tarvitsemme uusia käytäntöjä ja työkaluja, joilla oikeudet toteutetaan käytännössä. Siksi tarvitsemme MyDataa”, selittää raportin toimittanut Antti Poikola, Aalto-yliopiston tutkija ja yksi kansainvälisen MyData-verkoston perustajista.

MyData on 2010-luvulla syntynyt kansainvälinen ilmiö, uudenlainen ajattelumalli ja tulevaisuuden kuva. Tämän päivän päätöksillä on suuri vaikutus siihen, syntyykö oman datan jakamiseen ja hallintaan yhteisiä standardeja kuten aiemmin rahansiirtoihin pankkien välillä, matkapuheluihin tai sähköpostiin, vai jatkuuko muutaman jätin valta datamarkkinoilla.

MyData 2018 konferenssi pureutuu tietosuoja-asetuksen vaikutuksiin ja tuo alan pioneerit ja teknologiajätit Suomeen

Tietosuoja-asetuksen vaikutuksia yrityksille ja kansalaisille punnitaan elokuussa, kun kolmatta kertaa järjestettävä MyData-konferenssi tuo henkilötiedon ammattilaiset ympäri maailmaa Helsinkiin. Esiintyjäkaartiin kuuluu yli sata kotimaista ja kansainvälistä huippuasiantuntijaa mm. Googlelta, BBC:ltä ja F-Securelta.

”Konferenssiin saapuu arviolta 800 henkilöä yli 30 maasta. Mukana on liike-elämän johtajia, yrittäjiä, teknologian kehittäjiä, juristeja, yhteiskuntatieteilijöitä ja aktivisteja. Keskustelujen aiheina ovat uusi liiketoiminta, tekoälyn ja henkilötiedon etiikka, tietojärjestelmien yhteentoimivuus sekä henkilötiedon yhteiskunnalliset vaikutukset”, kuvailee MyData-konferenssin projektijohtaja Viivi Lähteenoja.

Kulttuuritalolla 29.-31.8.2018 järjestettävän konferenssin pääkumppani on Suomen itsenäisyyden juhlarahasto Sitra. Konferenssin järjestävät Open Knowledge Finland ry ja Aalto yliopisto yhteistyössä ranskalaisen ajatuspajan Fingin kanssa. www.mydata2018.org

Lisätietoja:

Antti ‘Jogi’ Poikola
Ohjelmapäällikkö, MyData 2018
Aalto-yliopisto
jogi@mydata.org +358 44 337 5439
 
Riikka Kämppi
Viestintäpäällikkö, MyData 2018
riikka@mydata.org
+358 40 5729733

www.mydata2018.org

MyData-konferenssi järjestetään kolmatta kertaa 29.-31.8.2018 Helsingin Kulttuuritalolla. Konferenssi on maailmanlaajuisen MyData-verkoston lippulaivatapahtuma, joka kokoaa monialaisen yleisön oppimaan toisiltaan ja rakentamaan toimivaa datataloutta ja reilua tietoyhteiskuntaa.

Open Knowledge Finland ry on vuonna 2012 perustettu yhteisölähtöinen, voittoa tavoittelematon kansalaisjärjestö, joka toimii osana kansainvälistä Open Knowledge -verkostoa. Yhdistys edistää tiedon avoimuutta, avoimen tiedon hyödyntämistä ja avoimen yhteiskunnan kehittymistä.

Aalto-yliopisto on monitieteinen yhteisö, jossa tiede ja taide kohtaavat tekniikan ja talouden.

Fing on riippumaton ranskalainen voittoa tavoittelematon tutkimusorganisaatio, joka löytää, luo ja jakaa uusia ja käytännöllisiä ideoita, jotka ennakoivat digitaalisia muutoksia.

The post Suomi digitaalisten henkilötietojen edelläkävijäksi – maailman johtavat asiantuntijat Helsingissä elokuussa appeared first on Open Knowledge Finland.

Suomi digitaalisten henkilötietojen edelläkävijäksi – maailman johtavat asiantuntijat Helsingissä elokuussa

- July 4, 2018 in data protection, Events, Featured, human-centered approach, My Data, mydata, omadata, personal-data, privacy

Palvelujen digitalisoituminen on synnyttänyt kasvavan määrän henkilötietojen kertymistä eri palveluntarjoajille. Samaan aikaan kuluttajien luottamus henkilötietojen asialliseen käyttöön on heikentynyt.

Suomalaiset asiantuntijat, aktivistit ja yritykset ovat eturintamassa kehittämässä tulevaisuuden mallia digitaalisten henkilötietojen hallintaan. Tavoitteena on rakentaa maailmanlaajuinen toimintamalli, jossa yksilö voi itse määritellä millaisin ehdoin hänen tietojaan käytetään. Reilu datatalous hyödyttää kaikkia ja avaa uusia mahdollisuuksia eettisesti kestävään liiketoimintaan.

Liikenne- ja viestintäministeriön tänään julkaisema raportti (https://www.lvm.fi/-/suomi-toimii-omadata-mallin-suunnannayttajana-980281), Sitran IHANⓇ-hanke ja elokuussa Helsingin Kulttuuritalolla järjestettävä MyData 2018 -konferenssi vievät maailmanlaajuisten yhteisten pelisääntöjen kehittämistä aimo harppauksen eteenpäin.

”Toukokuussa 2018 voimaan astunut EU:n tietosuoja-asetus GDPR on merkittävä askel oikeaan suuntaan. Tämä asetus ei kuitenkaan yksin riitä takaamaan oikeudenmukaista tietoyhteiskuntaa tai ruokkimaan innovatiivista liiketoimintaa ja teknologiaa. Tarvitsemme uusia käytäntöjä ja työkaluja, joilla oikeudet toteutetaan käytännössä. Siksi tarvitsemme MyDataa”, selittää raportin toimittanut Antti Poikola, Aalto-yliopiston tutkija ja yksi kansainvälisen MyData-verkoston perustajista.

MyData on 2010-luvulla syntynyt kansainvälinen ilmiö, uudenlainen ajattelumalli ja tulevaisuuden kuva. Tämän päivän päätöksillä on suuri vaikutus siihen, syntyykö oman datan jakamiseen ja hallintaan yhteisiä standardeja kuten aiemmin rahansiirtoihin pankkien välillä, matkapuheluihin tai sähköpostiin, vai jatkuuko muutaman jätin valta datamarkkinoilla.

MyData 2018 konferenssi pureutuu tietosuoja-asetuksen vaikutuksiin ja tuo alan pioneerit ja teknologiajätit Suomeen

Tietosuoja-asetuksen vaikutuksia yrityksille ja kansalaisille punnitaan elokuussa, kun kolmatta kertaa järjestettävä MyData-konferenssi tuo henkilötiedon ammattilaiset ympäri maailmaa Helsinkiin. Esiintyjäkaartiin kuuluu yli sata kotimaista ja kansainvälistä huippuasiantuntijaa mm. Googlelta, BBC:ltä ja F-Securelta.

”Konferenssiin saapuu arviolta 800 henkilöä yli 30 maasta. Mukana on liike-elämän johtajia, yrittäjiä, teknologian kehittäjiä, juristeja, yhteiskuntatieteilijöitä ja aktivisteja. Keskustelujen aiheina ovat uusi liiketoiminta, tekoälyn ja henkilötiedon etiikka, tietojärjestelmien yhteentoimivuus sekä henkilötiedon yhteiskunnalliset vaikutukset”, kuvailee MyData-konferenssin projektijohtaja Viivi Lähteenoja.

Kulttuuritalolla 29.-31.8.2018 järjestettävän konferenssin pääkumppani on Suomen itsenäisyyden juhlarahasto Sitra. Konferenssin järjestävät Open Knowledge Finland ry ja Aalto yliopisto yhteistyössä ranskalaisen ajatuspajan Fingin kanssa. www.mydata2018.org

Lisätietoja:

Antti ‘Jogi’ Poikola
Ohjelmapäällikkö, MyData 2018
Aalto-yliopisto
jogi@mydata.org +358 44 337 5439
 
Riikka Kämppi
Viestintäpäällikkö, MyData 2018
riikka@mydata.org
+358 40 5729733

www.mydata2018.org

MyData-konferenssi järjestetään kolmatta kertaa 29.-31.8.2018 Helsingin Kulttuuritalolla. Konferenssi on maailmanlaajuisen MyData-verkoston lippulaivatapahtuma, joka kokoaa monialaisen yleisön oppimaan toisiltaan ja rakentamaan toimivaa datataloutta ja reilua tietoyhteiskuntaa.

Open Knowledge Finland ry on vuonna 2012 perustettu yhteisölähtöinen, voittoa tavoittelematon kansalaisjärjestö, joka toimii osana kansainvälistä Open Knowledge -verkostoa. Yhdistys edistää tiedon avoimuutta, avoimen tiedon hyödyntämistä ja avoimen yhteiskunnan kehittymistä.

Aalto-yliopisto on monitieteinen yhteisö, jossa tiede ja taide kohtaavat tekniikan ja talouden.

Fing on riippumaton ranskalainen voittoa tavoittelematon tutkimusorganisaatio, joka löytää, luo ja jakaa uusia ja käytännöllisiä ideoita, jotka ennakoivat digitaalisia muutoksia.

The post Suomi digitaalisten henkilötietojen edelläkävijäksi – maailman johtavat asiantuntijat Helsingissä elokuussa appeared first on Open Knowledge Finland.

We crack the Schufa, the German credit scoring

- February 22, 2018 in germany, mydata, OK Germany, personal-data

Last week the Open Knowledge Foundation Germany (OKFDE) and AlgorithmWatch launched the project OpenSCHUFA. Inspired by OKF Finland and the „mydata“ project, OpenSCHUFA is the first„mydata“ project by OKFDE. Over the last 7 days, the campaign generated Germany-wide media attention, and already over 8.000 individual Schufa data request (30.000 personal data requests in total).

Why we started OpenSCHUFA and why you should care about credit scoring

Germany’s leading credit rating bureau, SCHUFA, has immense power over people’s lives. A low SCHUFA score means landlords will refuse to rent you an apartment, banks will reject your credit card application and network providers will say ‘computer says no’ to a new Internet contract. But what if your SCHUFA score is low because there are mistakes in your credit history? Or if the score is calculated by a mathematical model that is biased? The big problem is, we simply don’t know how accurate SCHUFA’s or any other credit scoring data is and how it computes its scores. OpenSCHUFA wants to change this by analyzing thousands of credit records. This is not just happening in Germany, or just with credit scoring, for example the Chinese government has decided to introduce a scoring system by 2020 that assigns a “social value” to all residents. Or think about the Nosedive episode of Black Mirror series. We want to
  • start a discussion on that topic
  • bring more transparency towards (credit) scoring
  • empower people with their own data and show what can be done once this data is donated or crowd-shared

What exactly is SCHUFA?

SCHUFA is Germany’s leading credit rating bureau. It’s a private company similar to Equifax, Experian or TransUnion, some of the major credit reporting agencies operating in the US, UK, Canada or Australia. SCHUFA collects data of your financial history – your unpaid bills, credit cards, loans, fines and court judgments – and uses this information to calculate your SCHUFA score. Companies pay to check your SCHUFA score when you apply for a credit card, a new phone or Internet contract. A rental agent even checks with SCHUFA when you apply to rent an apartment. A low score means you have a high risk of defaulting on payments, so it makes it more difficult, or even impossible, to get credit. A low score can also affect how much interest you pay on a loan.

Why should you care about SCHUFA score or any other credit scores?

SCHUFA holds data on about 70 million people in Germany. That’s nearly everyone in the country aged 18 or older. According to SCHUFA, nearly one in ten of these people living in Germany (around 7 million people) have negative entries in their record. That’s quite a lot. SCHUFA gets its data from approximately 9,000 partners, such as banks and telecommunication companies. SCHUFA doesn’t believe it has a responsibility to check the accuracy of data it receives from its partners. In addition, the algorithm used by SCHUFA to calculate credit scores is protected as a trade secret so no one knows how the algorithm works and whether there are errors or injustices built into the model or the software. So basically, if you are an adult living in Germany, there is a good chance your life is affected by a credit score produced by a multimillion euro private company using an automatic process that they do not have to explain and an algorithm based on data that nobody checks for inaccuracies. And this is not just the case in Germany, but everywhere were credit scores determine everyday life.

How can you help?

Not living in Germany? Money makes the world go round. Please donate some money – 5 EUR, we also do take the GBP or USD –  to enable us to develop a data-donation software (that is open source and re-usable also in your country). Get in touch if you are interested in a similar campaign on the credit bureau in your country: openschufa@okfn.de And now some of the famous German fun, our campaign video:

GDPR: Πεδίο εφαρμογής, αρχές και ασφάλεια

- February 12, 2018 in eu, gdpr, personal-data, protection, Μη κατηγοριοποιημένο

Ο Γενικός Κανονισμός για την Προστασία Δεδομένων (ΓΚΠΣ) θα ισχύσει από τις 25 Μαΐου 2018 αντικαθιστώντας την οδηγία 95/46/ΕΚ για την Προστασία Προσωπικών Δεδομένων. Ο κανονισμός στοχεύει τόσο στην θέσπιση ενός ενιαίου πλαισίου προστασίας των προσωπικών δεδομένων σε όλη την Ένωση όσο και στην διασφάλιση της ελεύθερης διασυνοριακής διακίνησης δεδομένων.