A relatively new start-up called is looking to become a central location for everyone’s personal data. They provide the ability to host your data, in a structured fashion within what they term ‘gems’. These represent categories and subcategories of information about you, your family, car, kids, allergies, preferences, travel plans, etc. and you are able to selectively allow other people and applications access to your gems. The idea is that it saves you having to fill out forms, make lists and deal with all of the information that you have to deal with on a day-to-day basis and you can share it with whomever you like.

One key difference to other web-based stores of personal information is that their privacy and security policies put you in control of your data. If you want it removed from their servers, you can ask them to delete it and they guarantee that it will be gone. They also look at this as a long term play as they believe that it will take years before people are ready to use this type of service on mass.

What do you think? Would you use it? How do you feel about a commercial entity having effective control of your personal information, all in one place? As one person put it,

“It’s a hacker’s wet dream!”

I’m on the fence on this one for now.

Samenvatting Tegenlicht ‘Jouw data is goud waard’, 24 april

Alles wat wij online plaatsen wordt opgeslagen door bedrijven zoals Google. De verzamelnaam van deze data is ‘Big data’. Bedrijven hebben er veel geld voor over om alles van jou te weten te komen.

Dit is niet alleen om passende advertenties te creëren, maar ook om op basis van jouw gegevens jouw toekomstig gedrag te kunnen voorspellen. Daarin zit het grote geld.

Data is voor veel bedrijven een inkomstenbron. Men weet dat data geld waard is maar toch kijken we weg voor de gevaren. We geven onze data gratis weg. We worden er niet voor betaalt, wat eigenlijk wel zou moeten.

Dit vind ik een eng idee maar aan de andere kant maakt het me niet eens zoveel uit. Ik heb niets te verbergen en in sommige situaties vind ik het juist fijn dat bedrijven mij benaderen in plaats van dat ik zelf op zoek moet gaan.

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So far, so good. is based on the idea that people should own their own data. Most services today are based on the idea of providing a service (eg photo sharing on Facebook) in return for the service selling that information (eg ads).

The tide is shifting though as people are waking up to the fact that their data, which is in many ways themselves in the digital world, has value. Do a search for “privacy as an asset class” and you will find many scholarly papers on the subject. But the simple fact is today we’re giving it away when we could perhaps be charging for it.

I’ll report back on So far I have only released such sensitive information as my wifi key and what kind of bike I own (well one of them, the teal Yeti 575 if you must know).

Not long after the Heartbleed security flaw was uncovered, my colleague Rafe Needleman suggested that we schedule a holiday just to change our passwords. Maybe that would make a difference? Because, so far, not much else has.

With yet another security-scare story afoot (not that I’m necessarily persuaded by Hold Security’s claims), we’re once again being told that it’s time to change our passwords. The problem is, most of us don’t–even, it appears, people who have already upgraded to password-manager sites. At Yahoo Tech, I suggest options to the usual password preaching. That means I’m not being hard enough on readers, right?