23rd June 2017
Do we really have control over our data? In a time when hacking seems to be in the headlines on a regular basis, and where people have been asking serious questions about online privacy, it seems more important than ever to know the answer to this question. On a daily basis, we give multinational corporations access to some of our most personal information. We let the likes of Google and Facebook monitor our behaviour and track our movements online, but is this a good thing?
As someone who once worked in the IT sector, I find myself increasingly enamoured at how giving internet companies this data has made my life easier. Traffic updates, news suggestions, music preferences, the ease of which I can have any question I care to think of answered, has made my life much more streamlined. Google takes care of my calendar, my emails, my contacts, my shopping list and everything in between. I give them the data, their artificial intelligence makes sense of it, and it spews the data out to my phone in a way that I still find impressive every time I see it.
It’s alluring to me, but I realise I may be in the minority. I do think it makes our lives easier though. Can you imagine life without it?
I’m not alone, many, nay most of us do this, yet we are not fully aware of how much this data says about us, and more importantly, it is not entirely clear what it is used for. When you think about it, do you have control over your data if you’re unsure what it’s used for?
Many companies have tried to come up with a solution to this, but not many are social enterprises. That’s what makes mydex different both as a tech company and a social enterprise.
Put simply, mydex offers solutions for organisations and individuals to have complete control over their data and the way it is used. Its social purpose is straight forward: “to provide benefit to individuals (as consumers/citizens) seeking to better manage their personal data by helping them assert greater control over how this data is used by organisations and to realise the potential value this data.”
It offers tools for users to take control of the data they share and choose where and when it is used. On an individual level, this is done using a Personal Data Store (PDS). Each time you want to sign up to a new service online you must enter all the same information repeatedly. With mydex’s PDS you keep all this information on your own personal database, making it easier to fill in those forms when you sign up to new services or purchase things online. This even goes as far as storing things like your National Insurance number, your blood type and much more. This sits on its own individual server, accessible from any devices you use, and can be deployed at the touch of a button. This gives you the ability to see where your data is being used at any given time.
David Alexander is a co-founder and CEO of mydex, and in this interview, we chat at length about technology, the use of data online, what influenced the decision to start mydex, why it was so important that the company was a Community Interest Company (CIC) and social enterprise, and much much more. A thoroughly fascinating chat.
I hope you enjoy this interview.