How do we make people more aware of their personal data?
Doc: We have two selves in the world at any given time now. We have the physical self, our flesh and blood, our voice, our presence in the world which extends beyond our bodies but lives in this physical space. There's this other space, we started calling cyberspace a long time ago, but it's a real thing. It's a data space.
Julian: We are as people quite often data illiterate. We don't realise the impact of what data has on our lives, we don't realise what we're giving and why we don't realise the mechanisms that will enable us to re-empower ourselves in this environment.
Adrian: Security and privacy, they are issues people do care about them and we need to, we should address them.
Alexandra: I think unfortunately at the minute we make people aware of their personal data when terrible things happen.
Aleks: It's going to take personal experiences of falling over, some kind of truly horrific experience before people actually feel that they are compelled to be educated about this.
Alexandra: And I think there's two pieces of data. People feel very strongly about, one is health care and the other one is banking. So if you touch those two areas, the reaction is extremely strong because they feel that it sort of touches something that they should be in complete control of.
Doug: The Internet is manmade and everything you put online is recoverable. There are world-class security experts, but there are still people who are stealing money from bank accounts.
Adrian: As technologists we we have a duty to try to explain these things to people and to try to get across, you know, find ways to make it real and make it make sense and we need more examples and better education.
Julian: We need to create a more informed debate about data, especially the value of data. The value of data as individuals and the value of data aggregated.
What are the disadvantages of managing your own data?
Doc: Right now there's more talk than ever about owning your own data, because there are so many companies out there that are gathering data about us, that we don't own at all, that we don't control at all.
Glyn: So if we're trying to manage your own data, one of the problems with this is you don't necessarily know what data you're giving to other people. So lacking information and lacking in any way of finding out that information.
Jon: So I actually want it to be in the hands of agencies that are going to do good with that that can maybe use my data in comparison to millions of other people's data to find trends, or to find specifics about me. So yeah we needed it to be out there in order to make it work, and that's where the tension comes in because as soon as I agree for it to be out there, and allow it to be worked on it's a bit like having a house party when I was seventeen and said, everybody's welcome. Well they were until it got a bit out of hand and you know with that story goes.
Jeni: I think that, I think that there are very few people who are willing to sacrifice as much as it would actually take me to not be monitored and surveilled at all.
What kind of help is available for people to manage their own data?
Jon: We need to move the debate beyond a discussion about what it can be in a commercial realm into activity in the ordinary domestic role.
Alexandra: I think we should be educating people about data through building partnerships with the companies who are involved in selling those products.
Doug: I think we already have a middleman for open data in an institution that's been recently created the Open Data Institute, co-founded by Tim Berners-Lee and Gavin Starkson, there's some fantastic people that created an accreditation system.
Doc: What's going to happen in the long run is that people will have control over their personal data because they'll know better what to do with it and the tools will exist for them to do more with it, with that data than these other companies could. It's just like it was with personal computing.
Jon: and when you kind of mobilize a world task force of paper geeks you like making stuff.
Doug: I don't think we need technology businesses to sit there and vouch for people's data. That seems to me an old way of doing things, I think an open source approach with five-star accreditation from the ODI seems a good way forward.
Doc: The trap not to fall into is the trap of fear right now, and we're at a high point of fear thanks to Edward Snowden, thanks to discovering what the NSA and the US has been doing, and what GCHQ here has been doing.
Jason: If you can build a sneaky feature into a device, and you decide not to tell the user you decide to kind of break the law a bit, certainly in data protection terms, theres a real risk that it will get found out.
Doc: This is a power we can use for good or evil and probably both, but we, it's present in the world now and we have to figure out how to use it.