Personal Data Trading is a model that gives individuals the ability to own their digital identity and create granular data sharing agreements via the Internet. Rather than the current model which tolerates companies selling personal data for profit, individuals would consciously sell their personal data to known parties of their choice and keep the profit. The individual downloads an app and requests their data from different organisations that currently hold it. Once the data had been collected the individual could agree to transfer data to a known party for a known amount. Transactions happen in aggregate form to ensure privacy, for example, 20 per cent of Amsterdam eats muesli for breakfast. The algorithm would be transparently available, and data would be encrypted. By ensuring individuals receive a fair share of the profit generated from their data, PDT results in a more equitable global resource distribution. By allowing individuals to support causes they care about by investing their data, PDT allows for a more balanced say in the allocation of global resources. The model would provide individuals with a wealth distribution system, together with the transparency and efficiency to counter global catastrophic risks.
Mitzi László was trained as a neuroscientist in King’s College London before going on to work at a Brazilian epidemiology study funded by the Wellcome Trust. Her task was to design experiments looking into decision making and particularly into health behaviours, such as, eating, moving, smoking, and drinking. It was the first year that the cohort was run when smart phones were widely used by both research participants and public health researchers. This led her to data.
Four years ago, she founded Own – an initiative providing the tools for individuals to own their own data. Personal Data Trading is a framework that gives individuals the ability to own their digital identity and create granular data sharing agreements via the Internet. The ultimate goals are to have a more equitable global resource distribution (value) and a more balanced say in allocation of global resources (voice). At the core is an effort to redecentralise the Internet.
Mitzi László also works in the ethics department of the European Commission. She has also been an expert advisor for the 80 billion-euro H2020 budget for health innovation. She regularly does public speaking including for a recent BBC series on data ethics for millennials.