Conference highlights: MyData 2016

Lessons learned from the intreactive blockchain and personal data session

Lessons learned from the intreactive blockchain and personal data session

Last week our Lead Technologist for Personal Data and Trust, Michele Nati, and new Head of Personal Data and Trust, Lucie Burgess, attended the MyData 2016 conference in Helsinki, Finland. The event is organised by Aalto University, Open Knowledge Finland and French think tank Fing. Michele and Lucie have shared the highlights below and will be providing more detailed content and updates from the event during the coming weeks.

MyData 2016 represented the first conference fully dedicated to personal data. The personal data movement focuses on human-centric personal data and is becoming international in scope and scale. The concept has various declinations including the Internet of Me, the API of Me, SelfData, Personal Data Stores, Personal Information Management Systems (PIMS), Vendor Relationship Management and other terms. All sharing the same aim: to empower individuals with control over their personal data.

Who attended?

The MyData conference preparation took more than a year, including considerable input from the Digital Catapult and other Personal Data & Trust Network members. And the result was great!

500 delegates attended from all over the world, approximately 50% from Finland, with the other 40% from Europe (including Nordic countries, France, Germany, Spain, the UK and Switzerland) and 10% from the US, China, Japan, Australia and elsewhere. Delegates included SMEs and entrepreneurs in the personal data space, including platform providers, personal data stores, PIMS systems, solutions/service providers, academics, think tanks and policymakers, independent consultants and analysts, venture capitalists, major corporations (for example, Visa Collab Europe and the Finnish broadcaster YLE), telecoms operators (including Telecom Italia, Orange and Vodafone), personal data activists and privacy campaigners, legal professionals, and EU representatives.

During the three days, we met a very broad audience with a very diverse range of interests. All strongly committed to overcoming the technology, commercial and legal barriers preventing individuals’ control of their personal data. The same commitment was shared by the conference sponsor, the Finnish department of Transport and Communications, whose minister Anne Berner gave the keynote speech, highlighting how personal data should be unlocked for the benefit of citizens. Other major market sectors represented included fintech, digital health, energy and utilities, smart cities, mobile and communications, and the public sector.

Key themes

MyData 2016

During the session all agreed that consent has to be transparent

MyData 2016 was definitely less about the technicalities of personal data and more about a fundamental conceptual shift: From a top-down ecosystem in which large suppliers or internet hubs engage with users, and in which privacy breaches and tracking of personal data without consent are rife, to a more user-centric decentralised model that is powered by ‘people-powered data’, privacy and trust. And also the opportunities that blockchain and the likes of smart contracts offer as part of this decentralised approach.

After three very intense days, it was clear that there is considerable interest in this growing, dynamic and evolutionary sector and a pervasive excitement that it could herald a revolution in the internet not seen since web 2.0. This confirms that our Personal Data and Trust Network and the work its partners and Digital Catapult are doing is very timely and we are at the right time and place to identify more interventions we can deliver together in this space.

Digital Catapult sessions

All details about the hosted sessions and presentations can be found on the MyData 2016 website and recordings of most of the sessions will be shared during the month. The Digital Catapult’s contribution includes:

Both sessions were largely attended, with 50 to 70 participants, and it was clear from discussions that there is real need for tools to increase transparency over personal data collection and sharing as well as GDPR compliance. An example, of course, being our development of consent receipt implementation. More on this project and will be covered in future posts.

You can follow Michele and Lucie on Twitter at @michelenati and @LucieCBurgess.