Jan 29, 2019

Facebook and Google: The data guardians fight back

The recent revelation that Facebook plans to integrate its Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram messaging services emphasises just how much power the social media giant has accrued - power it has abused by giving app developers access to our data without our explicit consent. "We really believe in the data economy, we want more data sharing," explains Ms Ng, "But you should have legal rights to share your data with whoever you want in the way you want." "We're trying to create a democratised set of the data Microsoft, Amazon, Google and Apple have on you." This is an open-source platform that separates the app program from the data it generates, enabling users to create their own "Personal online data store" they control. "There is real potential for third-party mechanisms to give individuals more control over their data," says Roger Taylor, chair of the UK government's new Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation, "And perhaps also to act on behalf of groups of customers to check that they are being treated fairly. But these intermediaries need to secure the trust of people, while also establishing a sustainable business model."

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