THE SUSTAINABLE INFORMATION ECONOMY
THE SUSTAINABLE INFORMATION ECONOMY IS REVOLUTIONIZING HOW WE USE PERSONAL DATA
The moniker “Web 3.0” has been suggested by John Markoff of the New York Times, and others, as a catch-all for the next wave of information technologies that are emerging not just from the typically scrappy Silicon Valley startups, but rather which are seeping into the mainstream through new behind-the-scenes uses of personal information that we as consumers supply every day to the behemoths of Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple. Recent articles and books such as George Gilder’s Life After Google and Roger McNamee’s Zucked have raised the alarm regarding the tradeoff that most individuals easily make every day in providing rich new information about all aspects of their lives in exchange for access to the primary communications and search arteries that govern modern living. Both authors express deep concern about how that information is being used to either deliberately or inadvertently to shape all aspects of society, politics, and economics of modern civilization.
The rise of Web 3.0 highlights a problem that has continually surfaced and re-surfaced since the birth of the Internet - the required resignation of personal privacy in exchange for the “shiny object” promise of new technology. Lori Fena, formerly the head of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and co-author of the Hundredth Window, explains that “convenience trumps privacy.” The interconnectedness of society as defined by Web 3.0 technologies can easily become a hazard to the individuality and independence that we consider fundamental to being human.
So what can we do? We certainly do not want to sacrifice the essentials of life in the information economy by avoiding or shunning the very services that define modern living. Boycotting essential information services like searching, email, texting, and photo/video sharing is self-destructive and futile. Is there a way to take control over our daily “data exhaust” which is instrumenting the machine-based understanding of who we are as defined by Web 3.0 technologies? Is this situation today where we have to surrender our personal data and information about our relationships to be able to function at work and at home even tenable or sustainable?
The founders of Personal Digital Spaces (PDS) encountered a particular instance of this dilemma when designing and deploying a safety system for police officers, firefighters. and first responders. It is often that such a real-world, specifically-defined problem can lead to an “aha” revelation, which can then drive a solution of far greater consequence than that of the original problem.
The PDS platform was born from years of solving real-world information sharing challenges. Personal Digital Spaces was created out of the need to allow individual workers to maintain sovereignty and control over their personal health information even when wearing employer supplied data collection devices. In the original use case, personal data was generated by IoT (Internet-of-Things) wearables and used in concert with the employer’s dispatch systems. Real-time IoT data would be used to train a machine-learning (ML) model for authenticating the worker as well as recognizing and alerting supervisors and dispatchers if that the worker becomes “in distress” or needs assistance. The adoption of this potentially lifesaving system by the workers and by the workers’ union required that the personal information used by the system would not be copied or controlled by the employer’s system and would only be released by consent of the employee or as required by law.
We realized when we solved this problem that our approach would enable applications to comply with the myriad of data privacy laws, including HIPAA, GDPR, and new CCPA as well as provide a system of data source auditability, accountability. and remuneration for AI and ML projects. Both for our own use, as well as for use by others, we created an application development platform that would handle the core elements of managing distributed data sources, authentication, permissions, tagging, valuing and exchanging data.
The Personal Digital Spaces (PDS) application platform and the Żetonium blockchain architecture are designed to make it fast, easy and inexpensive to implement data policies and transactions that give data sources, aggregators, regulators, and analysis organizations (individuals, companies, agencies, countries) the ability to be an active participant in the economy as they share data, add value to data, use data, buy data, pay for specific access to data, or be rewarded for making data-driven decisions.
PDS enables each and every user of applications built on the PDS substrate to clearly establish ownership title and self-sovereignty of personal data.
This platform makes it easy to rapidly prototype new applications or port/retrofit existing applications to tokenize and exchange all types of information across many systems in a secure and accountable system. This platform is built to encourage the growth, velocity, and fair trade in a data-driven economy by providing easy to implement data policies, inexpensive accountability and value exchange mechanisms for all points of the data value chain. We consider this layer of technical functionality as a fundamental building block of the Sustainable Information Economy.
The Sustainable Information Economy is defined by a system of fair trade policies that meet the needs of information companies as well as individuals themselves without generating significant social and economic problems for current and future generations. In addition to enabling a technical architecture, business practices must also be aligned with these policies to create a Sustainable Information Economy. We have drawn on our experience of creating business practices and policies that engender trust to outline a list of business practices that we hope may provide a starting point for creating a Sustainable Information Economy.
Sustainable Information Economy
Fair Trade Practices
Ensuring that information does not contain false information or is known to be untrue
Obtaining information with permission and not via deception, or methods likely to deceive the average user
Providing clear value exchange and does not omit material information that would be likely to cause the average user to make a different transactional decision
Creating long term business relationships and revenue flows to all points of the information value chain
Enacting security, transparency and accountability practices throughout the information supply chain
Timely mechanisms for examination and correction of errors, misuse, and misappropriation of information
Adherence to the United Nations charter of Human Rights, including banning slave and child labor and providing safe workplaces
Support of the United Nations Sustainability Goals
Awareness of the diverse demographics iterating through the world wide web and establish precautions against any potential forms of inequity
Pledge to build products that garner attention for the right reasons
The PDS platform will enable the migration away from legacy architectures and business models that perpetuated non-sustainable information economics and policies. The PDS architecture enables existing data aggregators to utilize legacy databases and systems, but simply add a layer of data sovereignty, policy, tagging, licensing/permission, and value exchange in applications that interface to the existing databases and new data streams. New applications and companies will emerge that generate new information sources and value-added information services based on the willingness of individuals and companies to share information due to the availability of trusted policies, accountability, and micropayments.
We value your input on both the PDS App platform and the Sustainable Information Economy practices! Please feel free to share this with your colleagues and provide your thoughts (good and bad!). Please contact us if you would like to arrange a demonstration or have an interactive discussion about a potential project.