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A new move accelerating the shift in the personal data landscape

Posted on: Wednesday 26th of June 2013

One transformational feature of the emerging personal data landscape is individuals becoming magnets of their own data. Instead of each individual’s data being dispersed across hundreds of different organisations, each of which builds its own, different profile of that individual, individuals use services like personal data stores to aggregate and integrate data about themselves.

Initiatives like midata in the UK and the Blue and Green Button programmes in the US contribute indirectly towards this trend by encouraging organisations to release data they hold on individuals back to them.

Now US personal data store Personal.com has opened up a new way to achieve this shift via a partnership with FileThis. This service automatically fetches consumers’ bills and statements from around 200 different banks, utility and retail companies including Amazon, American Express, AT&T, Bank of America, Citi, Macy’s, Paypal and Walmart, and adds them directly to their Personal Data Vault. Here is a link to the announcement and Monday’s press coverage in The Washington Post.

Personal has also unveiled data imports page for Facebook, LinkedIn, the US Dept of Education and others, enabling users to import everything from basic information like usernames, passwords and addresses to more complex information like career and financial aid history so they can use it for auto form-filling from their data store.

There are two potential benefits here: easier access, convenience and use of information for individuals; and potentially simpler and cheaper ways to engage in the new market for organisations. Companies have a way of empowering people with their data with complete confidence in the security and privacy of Personal’s service, a compelling opportunity to meet their environmental targets through a reduction in wasted paper, and to potentially increase efficiency and save significant transaction costs.

Josh Galper, Chief Policy Officer and General Counsel at Personal tells us, “We’re seeing a seismic shift take place in the world of data and privacy. Simply put, we think customers prefer to do business with companies that give them the value of their data in a privacy-respecting way than ones that do not. This is sparking a “race to the top” as, to gain competitive advantage, more companies embrace the model of empowering people with their data while respecting their privacy.”

Personal’s CEO Shane Green outlined the key value proposition for personal data stores in a recent interview with Ctrl-Shift.