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Open Data and personal data empowerment

Posted on: Friday 21st of February 2014

Tomorrow is Open Data Day, a day designed to promote the spread of Open Data practices around the world.

There’s a fantastically exciting and astonishingly simple idea at the heart of Open Data: data currently lying around inside an organisation’s boundaries and used for only one thing could be used for many other things if it was made available outside.

The possibilities to add new value begin to explode as soon as data from previously separate sources starts to be combined.

The whole point about Open Data is that it’s open, free for anyone to use, a common resource.

At first sight, trends in personal data may look completely different. With trends like midata are all about enhancing individuals’ control over their own data, potentially restricting the ways it can be used by other parties – the opposite of ‘open’.

However, at another level it’s very similar to Open Data: It takes data out of its existing ‘prison’ inside organisations’ boundaries to free it for use by others – this time, individuals.

But the really exciting opportunity is when the two movements combine – when new information services take private, personal ‘information about me’ (my attributes, circumstances, goals, preferences and so on) and use this information as the grain of sand around which to crystallise relevant, useful information about ‘the world out there’ – information increasingly sourced from Open Data. We explore this opportunity in our paper ‘When Open Data Meets Personal Data’.

At an architectural level, this is a fundamental shift from the data economy of the last fifty years which was organised almost solely around organisations collecting data and using this data inside their own firewalls. Now we’re moving to new data networks and ecosystems involving multiple data contributors and users.

Open Data and personal data empowerment are part of this broader shift – a shift where new dimensions of value become possible.

Sir Nigel Shadbolt, Chair of midata and the Open Data Institute will join a line up of world-class speakers at our inaugural Personal Information Economy event. We’ll be exploring the game changing opportunities and implications of the new information-rich digital economy and sharing the very latest thinking on the opportunities to innovate, add value and cut costs. Make sure you don’t miss out and register now.