This article was published on November 20, 2009

What does the future hold for our personal data?

What does the future hold for our personal data?
James Glick
Story by

James Glick

James is a London based technology blogger and writer for The Next Web Network. Working for UK online advertising agency 20:20 Media and An James is a London based technology blogger and writer for The Next Web Network. Working for UK online advertising agency 20:20 Media and Analytics, James has a strong passion for start ups, social media, apps and the web community. He can be found writing for his personal, company and of course TNW UK blogs. Follow him via Twitter and Facebook.

On an increasing frequency, UK consumers are opening their evening Online Securitynewspapers or sitting down to their TV dinners to the news that more of their personal data has been lost, stolen or hacked.

I’ve been taking a increasingly keen interest since my own personal information was stolen following the Guardian Jobs website being hacked back in late October.

With two more occurrences taking place since then including my home towns (St. Albans) postal voters data going missing and more notably the recent T-Mobile debacle, security is simply not improving.  It doesn’t help when in T-Mobiles case, their own staff were selling on customers data for their own financial gain.

Technology has brought us far over the last 2 decades, solving many a problem, so why not data security and access?  Admittedly, it will be very difficult to knock it out for touch for good, though there’s definitely scope to improve things drastically.

When discussing the possibilities with colleagues, a common trend continually appears.  Resting the responsibility of the storing of your personal information with multiple parties on various different infrastructures and well out of your control.

With so much of our data held in the clouds, surely it’s time to revolutionise the way we hold and secure our data.  Having it in so many locations at once is simply not viable long term and with the technology and developers at the world’s disposal, it’s time to find a better solution.

My opinion

We need to store all of our data in one place, my ideal system is one some may feel unrealistic and out of reach at the moment, but I believe it would put trust back into consumers.

  • In the same way we approve APIs to access our data with the likes of Twitter and Facebook apps, websites and companies would have to do the same.
  • They can then outline any information that they require that’s missing and allows us to choose the information we give to them.
  • The consumer would be able to remove data too and see which organisations held their data.
  • Where would this be held?  Harvesting it all with everyone elses on a large database via Google, Facebook or Governments would be asking for trouble.  I see us holding it ourselves, maybe even on our mobile phones or other mobile devices, that way the risk is just for ourselves and less of a reward for hackers.

How to prevent companies from storing our data following that would be another hurdle, though essentially I believe we need to flip data handling on it’s head and put the control back with us, the consumer.

Your opinion

As our readers, we want to hear your opinion too, how do you see the future of data handling?

One things for sure, we cannot continue for much longer with the manor of which our sensitive data is currently dealt with, i dread to think how many websites and companies hold mine and in particularly, what their doing with it!

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