The unbalance of data relationships in the digital market

Oct 31 2018

At the NGI Forum 2018 in Porto, a session was led by Marta Arniani (futuribile / curating futures) on behalf of the NGI Move project on the topic of "A secure, decentralised Internet".

The session consisted of 4 sessions debating on different challenges in making of a decentralised Internet. In one the session, Pablo Ojanguren, founder and CTO of Swell RT spoke on the unbalance of data relationships in the digital market.

The data-based relationships between users (consumers) and companies isn't fair. 

  • Users don’t really control how their data are delivered to service providers, which gather them through centralized channels (user interface, web or app) and process them. 
Also, the information returned by the service can be only consumed in one controlled way. It is like buying shoes that you can only wear in the streets allowed by the vendor.  
Another case of unbalance is when organizations can handle our information automatically but we cannot handle theirs in the same way.
 Should these commercial relationships of data be legally regulated? 
Could we legally force service providers to give APIs to allow users to retrieve its data or to decide where its data must be stored? 

What would happen if users could get raw data from service providers? Would that be helpful?
 Here is where real decentralization apps can help. A single user couldn’t extract much more value from its data by itself (or service’s data). But people could aggregate their data in a peer-2-peer platform to operate them. In cases like Uber, for example, it would bring opportunity for drivers to be organized in a kind of p2p digital union driven by data that could allow better self regulation.



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