openPDS software focuses on control of personal data

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Posted October 8, 2013
openPDS software focuses on control of personal data
Regarded as a building block for the personal data ecosystem, open PDS has arrived. As Thomas Hardjono, technical lead of the MIT Consortium for Kerberos and Internet Trust commented in New Scientist, “We want people to have equitable access to their data. Today, AT&T and Verizon have access to my GPS data, but I don’t.”

If you want to install an app on your smartphone, openPDS sits in between the app requester and you, controlling the flow of information that will be released back to the app requester. Hosted either on a smartphone or on an Internet-connected hard drive, it siphons off data from the phone or computer but the software allows users greater control of how the data is used and shared.

OpenPDS was developed at the MIT Media Lab and ID3 (Institute for Data Driven Design, a research and educational group in Boston). “Open” in openPDS suggests its open source nature and PDS stands for Personal Data Store. The idea is for a computer user to have one place where all the data resides, a store that gives the user greater control over what kinds of data he or she wants to share with any third party requesting information.

Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye, who participated in the MIT Media Lab undertaking, posed the question on his own page, “In a world where sensors, data storage and processing power are too cheap to meter how do you ensure that users can realize the full value of their data while protecting their privacy?”

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