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Own Your Own Data

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Own Your Own Data, illustration

Credit: Christine Daniloff / MIT

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers have developed openPDS (personal data store), a prototype system that stores data from digital devices in a single location specified by the user. The researchers note that with openPDS, applications share code instead of data.

One of the benefits of openPDS is it requires applications to specify what information they need and how it will be used. OpenPDS preserves all of the potentially useful data in a repository controlled by the end user, rather than by the application developer or service provider. However, a malicious hacker could try to construct requests that elicit more information than the user intends to disclose. Creating safeguards against such information leaks will have to be done on a case-by-case, application-by-application basis and, at least initially, the full implications of some queries may not be obvious, notes MIT researcher Yves-Alexendre de Montjoye. However, he says, "even if it's not 100-percent safe, it's still a huge improvement over the current state."

ETH Zurich professor Dirk Helbing says openPDS is a key enabling technologies for the digital society. "I don't see another way of making big data compatible with constitutional rights and human rights," Helbing says.

From MIT News
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Abstracts Copyright © 2014 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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