New technology to achieve sovereignty of our personal data?

The new update of the terms and conditions of WhatsApp has brought to the table a very important issue: the treatment of our personal data. The fact that the application that almost all of us use to communicate daily with friends, family and even for work, tells us that "either you accept or you leave" only makes it a forced decision.

Supposedly the owners of personal data (that is, all of us) have the power to give our consent (based on the right to informative self-determination recognized by our constitution) for this treatment to be carried out, but in this case, when this means of Communication has practically become normalized, that power to decide on consent has ceased to make sense. It is known that many people are thinking or have chosen to download telegram as an equivalent communication option, but probably the majority of WhatsApp users will choose to accept the terms and conditions and allow their information to be processed even when they are not exactly in agreement. agree with it, or many times, without even knowing the extent of that information.

Where is the sovereignty over our personal data? If we are the owners of this data, why does having absolute control over it seems to be a utopia?

In this regard, Tim Berners-Lee, presents the idea of ​​"pods”. These are online stores of personal data that give the user control over their own data, both the websites they visited, exercise routines they performed and in general all the information they could have generated. These online data stores allow this information to be safely stored in a kind of individual “data safe” that will take up minimal space on the server. According to The New York Times"companies can gain access to a person's data, with permission, through a secure link for a specific tasksuch as processing a loan application or delivering a personalized advertisement. They could selectively link and use personal information, but don't store it”(Emphasis added).

By the way, who is Tim Berners-Lee? He is a British computer scientist who several decades ago devised simple standards for locating, linking and presenting multimedia documents online. This is why he is known as the father of the World Wide Web. However, it appears that you do not entirely agree with the excessive use that multiple companies give to the personal data they collect and the power they accumulate silently and without the ordinary people being able to do anything to stop it. This is why his vision of data sovereignty starts from a technological perspective.

Berners-Lee and his partner John Bruce have founded the Inrupt company with this idea. To do this, they launched server software for businesses and government agencies in November last year. According to their scheme, they will be the sponsors of the "pods", which will be free for users. In a complementary way, it raises free or low-cost “personal data services” for users, similar to the email services that we all know. Perhaps in a few years, controlling our data will be as easy as entering our email and deleting those emails that we do not want to have stored.

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Marilú Lazo
Lawyer from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP). Director of The Crypto Legal Blog, she has experience in corporate advice, consumer protection, as well as in matters of personal data protection and new technologies.

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