Interests in non-personal reuses of data about me (fourth parties)
Individual people’s stories and their engagement with the world can also be used in non-personal ways: data about me may be used in ways not special to me, but for other purposes. This is a fourth-order relationship, in the sense that is unrelated to particular applications for you.
Often data about people is lumped together and used anonomously. A group of people tells a collective story with their collective data. “Our story” might be about a medical condition that is studied by scientists, or a study of what is working or not working for our community. Appropriately anonymised data that is aggregated into groups of people can be used to answer research questions, measure the effectiveness of social services, monitor social service providers, identify improvement opportunities
for government, etc.
In this way, the common goal that we share is to understand the stories of groups of people and their life paths and engagement with the world to better understand what can be done to improve lives in general. The individual person is not directly targeted by non-personal uses of their individual data, but can be an indirect beneficiary or can help others by adding their story to the collective narrative.
What this illustrates is that the difference between personal and non-personal data is the use to which it is put. Data about people can be used for personal purposes, such as curating a personalised service portfolio for an individual person. But it can also be used in a non- personal way by NGOs, scientists, social investors, entrepreneurs, and others to make decisions based on quality, multidimensional data. The personal data sharing platform needs to be capable of enabling both these purposes in a way that is safe and trusted.
The aim is to develop an information exchange that empowers people whilst also delivering more value for business, scientific, and common interests, so creating a stronger and more prosperous civil society. Here the commons thinking applies. My data can be used in non-personal ways (ways that do not impact me directly) if this is for wider common benefits.
Bearing in mind the levels of distance from first-order through to fourth-order relationships to the subject of the data – you! – we turn now to particular kinds of interest in your data. What kinds of interest are there in personal data?