Community Meeting (July 18, 2018): MyData - A human-centered approach to personal data management


Presenter: Teemu Ropponen

MyData is both an alternative vision and guiding technical principles for how we, as individuals, can have more control over the data trails we leave behind us in our everyday actions. The core idea is that we should have an easy way to see where data about us goes, specify who can use it, and alter these decisions over time. More than GDPR, MyData focuses on actionable rights - making sure that data CAN be reused easily, as long the reuse is governed ethically.

Thus, the MyData approach aims at strengthening digital human rights while opening new opportunities for businesses to develop innovative personal data based services built on mutual trust.

MyData is now in the Finnish Government agenda. The MyData declaration has been translated to nearly 10 languages worldwide and the white paper has gained good traction worldwide. 

Open Knowledge Finland, Aalto University and many partners currently coordinate a large global MyData global network around the ethical use of personal data.  The network operates now in 25 locations in 20 countries, and organize a 800-person conference and regional meetups on the topic.

In August of this year, this MyData movement is being spun off into a separate international not-for-profit organization.

Teemu Ropponen from the MyData Global Network and Open Knowledge Finland, will explain what MyData is all about in practice, and explains what it might mean for designers and developers of digital services in the future.


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MyData 2018 Conference:

MyData Global Community:

MyData Declaration:

Read more:

Our thinking on Medium:

Whitepapers and more:



Video Recording

English Whitepaper

  • MyData is not about open data, but personal data.
    • Core Idea
      • Individuals should be in control of their own data
    • Approach
      • aims to strengthen digital human rights (privacy, sovereignty) while opening new opportunities for businesses to develop innovative personal data based services built on mutual trust.
    • MyData is a vision and guiding technical principals so we can have control over the data trails we leave behind us everyday.
  • Three models
    • API Ecosystem
      • Individual APIs to connect
      • Easy to forget what and where you've given consent
    • Platform Model
      • single sign on
      • etc.
    • MyData Model
      • control data flows to individual entities
  • MyData shifts
    • Formal → actionable rights
      • not just legal but something you can actually do. (e.g. click on something)
    • Data protection → data empowerment
      • Things like GDPR are more privacy protection, empowerment is what can you do with the data about you
    • Closed → open ecosystems
      • currently little/no transparency about what data is collected about you
  • GDPR vs MyData
    • GDPR strengthens data protection and our individual rights (hopefully also our trust)
      • key rights
        • consent
        • data portability
        • right to access
        • right to be forgotten
          • grey areas
            • right to be forgotten vs public interest
            • right to remember
            • right of minority groups
        • privacy by design
        • data protection officers
        • breach notification
      • other issue is that some sites are blocking users because they view compliance to be too difficult/costly
    • MyData aims to enable new services based on personal data
      • Entire MyData architecture is built on managing consents.
      • Realising and promoting functional APIs/interfaces for data, not just file access is central goal in MyData.
      • MyData creates a framework where both control and transparency of data usage is done human-centric
      • Profiling requires explicit consent
      • ...
    • Open Data - MyData Principles
      • MyData is about your data and your freedoms, Open data is about public data and anyones freedom
  • Making it happen
    • 25 MyData hubs across 20 countries
    • Companies coming onboard to support MyData. They may not be end user facing but companies that support other companies that use data.
    • Still need to explore relation to AI (can i get my data, can i revoke my data from those algorithms, and etc.)
    • Deceived by Design - Norwegian Consumer Council
    • MyData Conference ( 2016 and 2017 videos are online) 2018 conference happening at the end of August.
  • In the future it would be good to have privacy icons (similar to creative commons icons) to indicate what a terms of service entails.

GAFA refers to Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon ( ).