COFACE Families Europe has initiated a reflection on how users can regain control of their data. At present, user data is scattered across thousands of company owned clouds/databases, aggregated together, which makes it easy for hackers, to steal millions of similar information about users like credit card numbers, usernames and passwords etc.

One alternative would be to make all and any data generated by users hosted on a cloud service owned and controlled by the user directly. For instance, data generated from IoT devices would not connect directly to a company’s server, but would store any information generated into an encrypted database hosted on a user’s cloud, and the company would only get access to the data generated depending on the user’s access policy. In case of a security breach, all access policies could be blocked and the user would have to take action to generate new access keys. Since access keys would be unique to each company which has manufactured a specific IoT device, even if a users’ cloud is hacked, the data could not be stolen directly.

With regards to user generated data, instead of uploading videos to YouTube directly, users would upload a video to their personal cloud and YouTube would have access to it. The video could be processed and hosted in YouTube’s native video format on the user’s cloud, including any meta data such as title of the video, description etc. This would be beneficial from many different reasons: it would minimize the multiplication of user generated data since a user would not have to upload his/her video forit to be hosted on 10 other on demand video sharing platforms. Such a system could also apply, in theory, to more complex user generated data such as social networks.

Read our Policy Briefing “Current challenges and the impact of digitalisation on families” – published for the 2016 OECD Digital Economy Ministerial Meeting held in June 2016 in Mexico


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