A PIMS Development Kit for New Personal Data Platforms
 
 
 

In today’s data-driven economy, the amount of data a company holds has a direct and non- trivial impact on its overall market valuation. Data are catalyzing not only business, but also governance and everyday life, across all sectors, regions, time scales, economic and political sys- tems worldwide. Online advertising and market- ing have driven developments in this space, trans- forming a decades-old industry and creating some of the biggest businesses (and in a few cases, controversies) of our time. In fact, the online advertising industry is breaking records year after year, both in terms of growth and overall value. BIA Advisory Services predicts that mobile ad- vertising spending in the U.S. will surpass direct mail as the top media advertising platform for the first time in 2022. The global market for Big Data, estimated at US$130.7 billion in 2020, is expected to reach a revised size of US$234.6 billion by 2026, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.2%. All this has clearly driven data collection, processing and utilization technologies, with complex platforms enabling online data trading within 100 ms.
 
However, online advertising is just the tip of the iceberg. Data is being sought and offered in a wide range of applications, and data-driven decision making is having a significant impact across a variety of sectors. According to a large- scale 2016 study by McKinsey, the numbers for the potential of data-driven decision making are staggering, even by the most conservative estimates. Mobility could have a benefit of nearly trillion USD by 2025, while banking is predicted to benefit 260 billion USD per year. The data economy in Europe was worth nearly C325 billion in 2019, equivalent to 2.6% of GDP. By 2025, it will rise to over C550 billion, equivalent to 4% of the total EU GDP. According to a recent McKinsey report, data from connected cars could add 250 to 400 billion USD in annual value to players across the ecosystem by 2030.
 
In some aspects, this economy is primitive: the source of value – or raw material – are the users of online systems, and they have no choice but to give away their goods (data) to a very few omnipotent companies against whom they have no bargaining power. In exchange for their goods, users receive a range of services, some of which are now essential to everyone’s digital life: web search, connecting with other people, shopping, etc. In each area, there is often a monopoly (Google, Facebook, Amazon, to name a few). As a result, users can not really opt out and must continue to give away their goods without being able to negotiate compensation. This is not a market. It is more like the colonial economy, where peasants had no choice but to work for the colonists, without any bargaining power whatsoever.
 
This situation has sparked intense debates on various issues, including privacy, discrimination and bias, manipulation of public opinion and spread of fake news, competition and mo- nopolisation, automation and its impact on unem- ployment and economic inequality. Privacy is at stake, and regulators are rushing to establish basic guidelines and barriers to curb negative consequences before it is too late. Data protection has been at the heart of this activity, with the EU’s GDPR being followed by developments in other parts of the world – such as California’s CCPA. In a relatively short time, it has become gener- ally acknowledged that (loss of) privacy is not something to be left to chance or to uncontrolled market dynamics.

 
 

Contributions

 
Current Solutions for Personal Data Management

The first countermeasures against the collection of user data were solutions to block online ad- vertisements and trackers, usually implemented via browser plugins. AdBlock Plus and Ghostery are notable examples that have become popular in recent years and count millions of users. They block ads and offer the ability to limit common tracking mechanisms and many privacy-invasive practices, such as browser fingerprinting. In re- sponse, services have attempted to circumvent blocking with a variety of more sophisticated tracking techniques. This has led to a continu- ing arms race that is detrimental to the positive potential of data-driven decision making and the Internet economy in general.

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The PIMCity PIMS Development Kit: Challenges and Design Principles

PIMS aim to give users back control over their data while creating transparency in the market. However, so far they have failed to gain business maturity and reach a large user base. PIMCity makes the PIMS idea feasible, scalable and flexi- ble. To achieve this ambitious goal, we have care- fully developed a bottom-up methodology that involves all stakeholders at all stages, from design to development to large-scale demonstration and going to market. We strongly believe that an open market for data will only thrive if we stop the arms race between users and services. For this, we have involved advertisers and end-users throughout the process.
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The PDK in details

In the PDK, we design and develop basic and generic components that offer fundamental func- tionalities for PIMS. We release them as SDKs with the goal of streamlining PIMS development and integration. We describe them in Figure 1 and discuss them in the following sections.
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Use Cases and Applications

The PDK modules can be used individually or, better, in cooperation. They can be combined in multiple ways to implement different PIMS archi- tectures or data processing pipelines in general. Here we discuss two possibilities that we consider to be the most common use cases for the PDK.
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Discussion and Deployment Initiatives

The current data ecosystem is built around the companies that collect and sell data, and users have no voice nor right to control and demand transparent management. With the PIMS Devel- opment Kit, we simplify experimentation with new user-centric marketplaces and foster a new data economy where users are at the center and have full control over their data. The PDK in- cludes tools for managing consent and personal data, and for creating marketplaces. Using the PDK building blocks, new companies and bodies can quickly enter the PIMS market and imple- ment various use cases to deliver transparent business or social value.
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PIMS projects

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Events

 

November 16-17h
The IGF Spain 2021 is holding its annual conference on 16 and 17 November under the title: ’Internet unites us. The network as an engine for transformation, recovery and sustainability’.
The meeting will once again serve to establish Spain’s position and prepare for the Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF Global) to be held from 6 to 10 December in Poland.