Human Data Interaction: Thinking Inside the Box

Human Data Interaction (HDI) is concerned to put the individual at the centre of wide spread data harvesting and aims to give people control over data that is either generated by or produced about them in the course of their mundane interactions with the digital economy.

‘Personal’ data are increasingly being analysed by industry and governments to draw actionable inferences about individuals, their behaviours, their Vector illustration white gear wheel on circuit boardpreferences, and their personalities. We propose placing the human at the centre of personal data flows, and providing mechanisms for citizens to interact with and control them.

Meeting this goal, and enabling citizens to participate in processes of data collection and the management and consumption of their personal data, requires the development of alternatives to current technological practice. The Databox is one such alternative.

The Databox collates both digital and physical personal data sources (e.g., social media and mobile phone sensors) and allows the individual to control access to them. It makes data available to apps, which are hosted on the Databox and exploit the data sources it holds with the individual’s consent to deliver personalised services, e.g., object-based media that tailors TV content around an individual’s interactions in the home.

Our hope is that the Databox is a first step towards re-balancing the asymmetry in power between us, the data subjects, and the data controllers or corporations that collect, hold and exploit our data.

This project will develop a first working version of the Databox, providing a unique technology probe enabling broader exploration of the privacy, trust, utility and individual control challenges implicated in the socially accountable use of personal data.

The project will work with the BBC to explore the creation of apps that support the delivery of personalised media content. Developed apps will be used to seed BBC engagement with the open source community at the 2016 Mozilla Festival in October.  See here for a summary of Databox events at the Festival and official launch.

More information on the Databox at & here.