Store your personal data in a HAT to keep it safe

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As we use the internet we give away information to lots of sites from shopping portals to search engines. The growth of the Internet of Things is likely to see a further boost in the amount of data held and shared about us.

The Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) at the University of Warwick in the UK is working on £1.2 million HAT (Hub-of-all-things) research project to develop a platform technology where individuals can keep all their personal data in one place.

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Funded by the Research Councils UK Digital Economy Programme and working in conjunction with industry and commercial partners, the research project has developed a personal data platform to perform all four key operations on personal data: collect, control, re-combine, contextualize and share.

"Now is the time to wake people up to just how much personal data they pour online and empower them to use that data to benefit them as much as its benefiting the businesses that are harvesting it," says Professor Irene Ng of WMG. "With the internet of things growing as a concept people need to get as much utility out of their own data as the product providers and utilities that will increasingly be taking that data".

A HAT Foundation will develop the next phase of the technology, taking over from the HAT research project team in WMG to roll-out the HAT globally in 2016. The Foundation will scale-up the HAT ecosystem and build a community of HAT users, to promote widespread take-up of HATs by individuals.

"The data on your HAT is owned by you and can be recombined by you so that you can make it meaningful and useful for decision-making. The HAT is also a fully scalable personal data platform for firms to offer you services for your data in a privacy-preserving way, as well as allowing you to track and creatively organize your data for better informed decisions in your lives," adds Professor Ng. "Most importantly, I believe that the HAT will start a movement for individuals to claim our personal data, as we believe it is now time for us to gain control of our digital lives and put ourselves, as individuals, at the center of the growing data exchange in the sharing economy".

You can find out more about the project on the HAT Foundation website.

Photo Credit:  jazzerup/Shutterstock

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