Personal Partners with FileThis & Adds Import Feature

Personal announced good news expanding it services to include the ability to get bills delivered to your vault via their partnership with All Filed.  It also has a new Import feature that makes it easy to add and update one’s information. Things that now can be updated include

  • Passwords from popular password managers to easily add your usernames and passwords to Personal
  • Education & Career History from LinkedIn and the U.S. Department of Education

They have a video to describe the integration.

They got coverage in the Washington Post :) The Download: Personal turns to partners to grow its customer base.

Customers on both platforms get:

  • Automatic Delivery: Import bills and statements to Personal as they become available.
  • Secure Storage: Personal protects data vaults with 256-bit AES encryption and RSA 2048 asymmetric key encryption.
  • Easy Access: Get bills and statements on the go with Personal’s iPhone and Android apps.
  • Secure Sharing: Securely share important documents through Personal with anyone in your life who needs access to them.

FileThis gets bills and statements from over 200 companies.

With the end of Beta Personal added an annual $29.99 fee and Shane talked about this fact in the Washington Post.

He added that some initial users even raised questions about the nonexistent price tag and preferred to pay a fee because it made the firm’s business model more transparent.

“They felt and told us that the fact that it wasn’t paid created issues and concerns around the true degree to which their privacy and security were being protected,” Green said.

There is also a post on his website about this 

Personal Clouds and Augmented Reality

I was invited by Christine Perey to present at the 9th Augmented Reality Standards Community Meeting in New York City. We are kindred spirits – like my work in identity and personal data bringing together a whole range of organizations, companies and people

She is bringing together the range of standards organizations who’s work all touches on Augmented Reality this slide deck articulates the current landscape.

Last night I attended the ARNY (Augmented Reality NY) meetup and saw several different head sets presented.  The only AR use cases that I had known/heard about were for people in every day life.  What I was excited to see and learn about was the application of AR to commercial applications where employees at work would be using glasses to do their work.  The  warehousing application is a classic.  A retailer like Walmart using Augmented Reality to help inform customers while they are in the store to share more information.  It was an “ahah” for me…like oh those use cases make sense to me becasue they don’t involve me as a citizen walking around the street having my face recognized and then being “identified” by people walking around wearing google glass. The other thing I learned that was kinda important – Google Glass is NOT augmented reality.  AR is a layer over what you are looking at and google glass is a screen that is little in front of your eye.

I see a great opportunity for those building Augmented Reality applications for people using both Public (open) Data and Commercial Data (navigating a retail store or information about a particular product) to really improve the relevancy of the experience they present by drawing data from the wearers personal cloud.



WEF Report #3: Unlocking the Value of Personal Data!

The World Economic Forum released its third major report about Rethinking Personal Data: Unlocking the Value of Personal Data: From Collection to Usage. PDEC has worked with the WEF’s Rethinking Personal Data project since before its first gathering in the Summer of 2010. It is really gratifying to see this third report come out and continue to move the issue forward.

The Rethinking Personal Data work is now within a larger umbrella WEF’s calling “Hyperconnectivity,” lead by Bill Hoffman, the original steward of the Rethinking Personal Data project.

Unlocking’s executive summary highlighted what PDEC member startups have been building:

New ways to engage the individual, help them understand and provide them with the tools to make real choices based on clear value exchange.

and the path forward of

Needing to demonstrate how a usage, contextual model can work in specific real world application.

The report says we must solve simplicity and elegance of design for usability so people can see the data generated by and about them.
The last part of the executive summary calls for “stakeholders to more effectively understand the dynamics of how the personal data ecosystem operates. A better coordinated way to share learning, shorten feedback loops and improve evidence-based policy-making must be established.”
The Rethinking Personal Data project convened six face-to-face events leading to the report. I participated in four of them in 2012 on behalf of PDEC: March in San Jose, June in London, September in Tianjin, and October in Brussels.

One of the meetings’ themes was the challenge to rise to the Fair Information Practice Principles. The US FTC‘s FIPPs were written in the 1970′s when citizens raised concerns to Congress about how they were ending up on catalogue mailing lists. This offline model is not an ideal basis for how to address the economic opportunities of personal data and the challenges it presents today.

The second chapter covers the context of data use, where everything surrounding data use affects people’s privacy expectations and the choices of institutions using their data. It’s great seeing this level of nuance brought to a general business audience.

This report is notable for highlighting the role of the personal data store in initatives put forward by the UK, French and US governments that mandate Data Handbacks, that data created by an individual when transacting with a government or business should be given back to the individual.


A few paragraphs stand out for me in looking ahead and the opportunity for PDEC companies.

Potentially, markets can encourage a “race to the top” in which user control and understanding of how data is used and leveraged become competitive differentiators. Various trust marks and independent scoring systems will help stimulate this kind of response.

Given the complexity of choices, there is also potential for the development of “agency type” services to be offered to help individuals. In such a scenario, parties would assist others (often for a commission or other fee) in a variety of complex settings. Financial advisers, real estate agents, bankers, insurance brokers and other similar “agency” roles are familiar examples of situations when one party exercises choice and control for another party via intermediary arrangements. Just as individuals have banks and financial advisers to leverage their financial assets and take care of their interests for them, the same type of “on behalf of” services are already starting to be offered with respect to data.

The last section of the report outlines thirteen different use-cases for personal data by a range of stakeholders, including two PDEC startup circle companiesPersonal and


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Mass-Educational Databases = Wrong Architecture


permrecord–tablet (Photo credit: teach42)


Every day it seems there is a new story about new “big data” systems are going to make things better – but then… they just made things creepier.


The latest news like this came from inBloom Inc. via SXSW-Edu (on Reuters). inBloom is a newly formed nonprofit to host a massive database of student records created with $100 million in funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  The goal seems good: track the progress of students through school and use the data to improve their outcomes.


The records can be comprehensive and inBloom doesn’t need students’ parents to consent to have their records in the database.


Federal officials say the database project complies with privacy laws. Schools do not need parental consent to share student records with any “school official” who has a “legitimate educational interest,” according to the Department of Education. The department defines “school official” to include private companies hired by the school, so long as they use the data only for the purposes spelled out in their contracts.


The whole idea that you must have one massive educational database of all student records is an architecture of the past.


The core idea is right: more data about a student’s learning experience in school is good for them and could be good for the overall school system. The challenge is how it is engineered. Are students and their parents put at the center of their own data lives? Or are they in another giant system they have little control over or say in?


We need to empower students with their own personal clouds. They must be able to download their own student learning records. They must be able to share them with companies and services that will work on their behalf. With personal clouds and infomediaries to help, students will find educational resources/and tools that can help them fill gaps in their learning and discover communities of interest. This infomediary market approach puts personal data to use without revealing any more data than needed and only on the student’s terms.


Infomediary Market Model for Personal Data



In this market model the individual collects data in their personal cloud. This could be a machine in their home or a service provider they trust (they must have the right & ability to move service providers with all their data if this is truly a personal cloud service). The individual trusts an infomediary service to look into their personal cloud but does so with a fiduciary duty to the end-user. The infomediary then works on their behalf in the market place to find relevant vendors and services.  It does not reveil specific personally identifying information to prospective service providers. It helps the individual have good choices and they decide who to transact with (thus reveling personal information).


The inBloom project sounds like an marketing project: companies will comb through the data base, find students to approach, and sell them with “education” products. The student data is up for grabs.


We need a better set of policies, technologies, and products that put parents and their kids at the center of and in control of their data. This single point of failure won’t do.



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