Who Owns My Data? A Lesson on Sharing

Check out the Tim Chambers’ post, Who Owns the Digital You?

On the subject of data ownership there’s lots to talk about – from Facebook privacy settings and commerce to cookies and safe browsing. The piece that the Flow takes on has to do with giving developers the ability to provide their end-users genuine co-ownership of the data they contribute.

Currently, even apps that fairly make use of user data have no easy way to allow users equal control of that data. The Flow gives developers an opportunity to offer consumers the ability to view, edit, delete and share their own data in a “data locker” that lives independent of their apps.

Our belief is that consumers will dramatically favor apps that give them equal access to their own data, combined with the ability to invite other applications to make use of that same data. This functionality is amazing with relatively “soft” data (coupons, check-ins, golf scores, photos, ratings), but is absolutely essential with more private information (financial, family, medical).

The trick was to make it VERY easy for both app developers and consumes to effectively share control of data.

The other piece was to make it VERY easy for an app developer to discover other apps using related data. With an end-user’s permission, new apps can continually add value to the same consumer data. For example, if I rate a restaurant with one Iphone app, a new Android app might come along and provide me a coupon every time I rate a restaurant in the first app. A third app might provide me a restaurant review of the second apps’ coupon recommendation, and so on. Wow.

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