Immutable Me

As a guest at the recent bitfwd session at UNSW I discussed the current state of play in the global personal data market and how Meeco is attempting to introduce a new way of consumer controlled data practices to improve this and enable new value streams to be created.
Distributed ledger technologies will play a critical part in this revolution and although Meeco is not a pure Blockchain start-up, we see it as a key enabler to the future of the emerging personal data eco-systems we are helping to build.

The Personal Data Market today

As our lives become increasingly digital we’re producing more and more information on a daily basis and this data is being spread across an increasing number of places. Apps, fitness devices, social media profiles – the list goes on.
The problem though is all of these data sets work in silos, none of them talk to each other and it’s virtually impossible to achieve a single digital view of your life. When you then look at how we have to interact with the multiple service providers, institutions and public bodies we engage with, it’s clear current digital channels are mostly broken and highly fragmented.
We often find ourselves having to provide the same data and information over and over again because we are required to jump across a number of silos formed around the business, not around us the customer.
Think of the simple process of informing all of your service providers of you new address when you move house. Surely there’s a better way?
Then you have issues of how your data is used by these third parties once you given them access to it. Most people believe they have lost control of their data and don’t know who has it, what they are doing with it and who they have sold it to.
At Meeco, we believe these issues of CONVIENENCE, CONTROL and CONSENT represent some of the great market inefficiencies of today’s digital lifestyle…. And this is the problem that Meeco is solving

What is Meeco?

Meeco is a platform that enables you to take control of your data and exchange it with trusted organisations for new personalised services.
If provides SIMPLICITY, CONVIENANCE and VALUE for both individual and enterprise
We do this in two ways:
Firstly, our consumer facing app. This allows you to CONNECT, STORE and ORGANISE personal information from all parts of your life in one secure place. Think of it as your very own DIGITAL FILING CABINET
The second part of the Meeco platform is what we are building with bands and organisations – These are new DATA MARKETPLACES where individuals can bring their data, consent and identities and exchange these under their own control for new personalised outcomes and experiences.
Not only does this work for the individual, it also creates huge opportunities for the enterprise.
By accessing this data directly from the customer, a deeper and more accurate understanding of them is gained and “segment of 1” profiling becomes REALISTIC & ACHIEVEABLE. This then allows for hyper-personalised experiences to be developed.

Meeco The Meeco dual sided data marketplace

Global Shifts

This shift to more personalised, user centric control and permission based data exchange is being supported by both changing consumer sentiment and formal legislation. In Europe regulation such as the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and PSD2 (Payment Services Directive2) are forcing organisations to be more transparent in how they request and use personal data. Businesses must now receive informed consent from their customers on how data is to be used. No longer can they simply use a loosely worded set of terms and conditions to mask their commercial data practices which often occur outside of the context of why you shared data with them in the first place.
The world is now changing and we are moving to a position of Minimum Viable Collection for Maximum Viable Access when it comes to data, information and consent. The power is shifting to the individual.

Yes, but what about Blockchain?

Looking at Blockchain through the eyes of the personal data market creates an interesting perspective. We know Blockchain is great for taking uncertainty and vulnerability out of things. Transactions about things, agreements between things, records of things.
For Meeco, BLOCKCHAIN IS ABOUT PROVENANCE. Recording an event, activity, purchase or transaction has powerful application when data, identities and information are concerned. So we look at Blockchain as an enabler of outcomes. We use immutability to make jobs to be done easier and create new trust based outcomes and experiences
An immutable record of an event in the new world of personal data can reduce friction, save costs and enhance user experience – These are the key outcomes we focus on.
We see Meeco being Blockchain agnostic. Our platform will connect with public, private and permissioned chains. we want to be able to link provenance across chain to support range of personas and use cases – each with its own context

Blockchain and ID

One of the big discussions in the Blockchain community at the moment is around ID. There’s no doubt ID is moving from the traditional use of ID instruments (passports) to CONTEXTUAL IDENTITY – I prove who I am in the context of what I’m doing or seeking to do
For example, I can prove I’m over 18 if I want to buy alcohol but you don’t need to know my data of birth. All that’s needed is a binary yes/no answer.
So Blockchain can provide great answers to some of these questions and be part of the movement to self sovereign identity we are seeing emerge. But we have to be careful. We shoudn’t take an all or nothing approach to this topic. Our identity is one of the most private assets we have so the concept of using a technology that’s designed for transparency and immutability to record and publish the very things you want to be private, contextual and time specific needs careful consideration.
For the ID2020 Summit in May 2016, our CEO Katryna Dow co-authored a paper (‘Immutable Me’) on identity and Blockchain. The paper was intended to start a discussion towards the ideal conditions for privacy and the (possible) use of Blockchain technology for identity.
In the paper we set out the value of proving that a reliable record exists and recording the record of the record of the reliability; the location without the map, the safety deposit box without the combination.
Don’t get me wrong….there are some amazing things happening in the Blockchain world right now. But we have to stop thinking everything is a nail, just because we have a hammer.

The Future

There is no doubt we are on the cusp of a seismic shift in the way data is collected, permissioned and utilised. The days of limited consumer control over their data and personal information are quickly ending. Corporates, Governments and institutions must now design their digital engagements based on privacy, trust and customer involvement.
It’s time to turn the data equation on its head.
We see a bright future where:

• Data is a tradeable asset
• Most of us will have a personal data portal or data wallet where we transact from
• We can dial up or down the levels of access we allow to our data
• Instead of being chased around the internet with adverts we cast our intentions into new data marketplaces and wait for brands to come to us
• Distributed ledgers form one of the backbones of this new economy – We all have an immutable & permanent record of all our data movements and events
• There isn’t just one form of T’s and C’s – they now come with options for different levels of data sharing

The tools and platforms to make this future happen are just emerging. There’s a way to go but every corporate data breach, fractured digital journey and frustrating spam email raises the awareness of what’s possible.
For more information on Meeco please visit www.meeco.me

Further reading

¥ Immutable Me – White paper exploring the ideal conditions for privacy and the possible use of Blockchain for identity https://blog.meeco.me/immutable-me/

¥ Rise of the Attribute Economy 2.0 – White paper exploring the challenges and opportunities of the emerging personal data economy https://blog.meeco.me/rise-attribute-economy-2-0/

¥ Me, My data and I – Decode Project Report (Decentralised Citizen Owned Data Ecosystem), exploring an alternative to the current global data practices http://www.nesta.org.uk/publications/me-my-data-and-i-future-personal-data-economy

¥ Digital Identity 3.0 – The Platform for the people – QUT –An outline for the next stage of digital identity http://www.chairdigitaleconomy.com.au/wpcontent/uploads/2015/08/DigitalIdentity3020150831FINAL.pdf

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