Horizon Blog

Horizon Digital Economy Thought Leadership Event: Midata

Last week Horizon hosted it’s very first “Digital Economy Thought Leadership” event. The aim of these events is to get a group of leading academics together with representatives from industry and civil society to discuss a topic which is expected have a significant impact on society and the digital economy. We decided to use the midata programme as the focus for the initial event as not only does it present a huge opportunity for the way in which we use personalised services but midata raises a lot of questions which can be related to Horizon’s research around privacy and personal data.

It was clear from the discussions which took place at the event that programmes like midata are seen as an exciting opportunity to empower consumers and can provide significant value to businesses through the development of new products and services which use personal data. It was also very clear that for the full benefits of midata to be realised both consumers and businesses need to be thinking much more about the privacy of personal data, moving towards a model of privacy by design. We had some really interesting debates about the next generation of personal data storage systems which keep information distributed and access it via algorithms. This allows users to maintain privacy and control over their personal data, allowing specific people to access specific data by prior agreement. A topic which also came under frequent discussion was the difficulty of informed consent when it comes to long, complex terms of service and privacy agreements, particularly in the online space, as well as the issue of third party data access.

The workshop produced lots of really exciting project ideas including:

  • Collective insight stores which enable consumers to pool their data in a privacy preserving way to recreate the insights held by large companies, create personalised recommendations and work collectively
  • Customer service “cookies” which helps customers manage their personal data to improve the service they receive
  • An automated system which generates personalised terms and conditions based on a customer’s privacy needs and a business’s data use requirements
  • A system which enables consumers and banks to understand at the point of sale which merchants might not be legitimate
  • An electronic payments system which protects consumer privacy

We are currently engaging with workshop attendees to discuss these projects in more detail and decide which ideas we might like to take forward as research or proof of concept projects. If any of the ideas above are of interest and you’d like to engage with us as we develop these projects please get in touch – either leave a comment below, tweet us at @HorizonDER or e-mail us!

A number of other event attendees have also written about the event so if you’re interested in the subject do check out the following articles: