5 need-to-know facts about GDPR

The EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) changes how companies and individuals collect, store and share data about us.

A new short film from Tomorrow's World explores what these changes could mean for our future relationship with data. Here are our top five take-aways.

1. A billion dollar marketplace

Your personal information is worth a great deal, not only to yourself, but also to many large companies who rely upon it as part of their business model.

"'Your data has immense value," says StJohn Deakins, CEO of CitizenMe.

His organisation is seeking to bring people and companies together to share information for mutual benefit and he emphasises how much our data is worth "...in terms of the value for you as an individual, in terms of understanding more about yourself, making better life decisions, in terms of the ability to donate it and share it with society.

"But also in terms of cash value to you as well.

"There’s a billion dollar marketplace, you just can’t participate yet.'

2. People would like to donate their data

Could you imagine a world in where we donate our personal information to causes we believe in?

Jeni Tennison is CEO of the Open Data Institute, a company co-founded by Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

"I think that people will want to donate data to charities, campaigning groups, community organisations, that can use that in order to build cases or understand the world better and therefore donate to public good," she says.

However, Jeni is conscious that people will want to make sure the environment for data donation is safe before committing to anything

"I think that they will want to see what kinds of studies get done and want to see the outputs of those studies.

"But I think that we can get into a very positive mindset about the way in which data about us is used."

3. Controlling your data could come at the push of a button

'"You can't donate something if you don't have it." Mitzi Laszlo, founder of Own says.

Mitzi and her company are looking to make the process of retrieving your data from the companies that store it much easier.

The goal is to have a single button that can be clicked to retrieve all a user's data in a way in which they can understand it.

"The Button is a ceremonial click, and you click it, and we deliver your digital identity to you.

"If we have a group, and the bigger the better in this case, there’s more pressure to really deliver that data in a way that’s useful for us."

4. We're escaping the 'Wild West' of the data economy

"The data marketplace, and the data economy, we’re still working out how that should work," Jeni Tennison says.

"It's been a bit of a Wild West as things are when we don’t really know how to regulate or control a sector."

But it looks as if things will change as the GDPR comes into effect.

"Gradually we’re learning what kinds of controls need to be in place... the General Data
Protection Regulations is one of those sets of controls that’s being put into to place to help regulate that kind of data economy."

The GDPR is the first attempt to legislate in over twenty years since the 1995 Data Protection Directive.

5. Eliminating our data-trails is no easy task

"It’s very hard to stop sharing your data, first thing you have to do is get rid of your smartphone," says StJohn Deakins.

His solution might seem extreme, but an app-filled connected device will be constantly sharing your information.

"Your smart phone, you’ve probably got thirty apps on your phone, which are sharing data all the time.

"They’re pinging back to home to tell home about you."

And it's not just your mobile.

"Anything else you do in real life, if you use a card on the bus, you’re making a data trail.

"So everything you do pretty much now is creating a data trail and increasingly more and more of your life will become digitally recorded."

According to StJohn, with so much data being created by connected devices we rely on every day, the best thing we can do is not try to delete our data trail, but instead take more control over it.

"The thing we need to do is to give everyone a copy of that and some ownership of it.

"To enable you to participate and give you value."

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