Considering digital footprint within wider interdependencies: access, control, store, attributes and rights..


The definition of digital footprint DATA in the following blog is used with the most all embracing and generic meaning of data which includes all raw data (collected, implicit, implied, passive or active collection); meta-data (data that defines the data, tags and attributes about the data); and information, insight, knowledge derived from analysis.

I start with an assumption that all digital footprint DATA has a creator (seller) and consumer (buyer) and all DATA needs context.  The simple examples of content, you take a photo of me and share it or a transaction, I buy something; highlight a critical point, both the creator (seller) and consumer (buyer) have rights to the DATA.  There are two special cases, one where the creator and consumer is the same body and the other where there is an intermediary or third party (buy something using credit). Irrespective of the structure there may need to be an agreement/ barter/ trade about the DATA and rights. Some of these agreements are already regulated.  In the case of a transaction, companies need to keep the data about the transaction for a period as defined by law, usually for tax reasons. However the individual may keep the record for longer or shorter, but could sell on the same data.  Therefore giving user control over their DATA is probably not that simple as they cannot control both sides.

Therefore, I think we need to consider digital footprint DATA within wider interdependencies: access, control, store, attributes and rights……

Access: fairly much already defined in law. You have rights to access your data that someone else has. The side you don’t control.  However My Digital Footprint is in silos and having access is probably not sufficient

Control: you do “control” your half of the barter, but that does not always give you rights to control what the other party has the rights to do.

Store: trusting users to manage, store, keep or preserve their half of the data (real and attributes) is not a viable option if there is a need for reliability, security, integrity or longevity. Further, where data is stored adds a layer of complexity.

Attributes: Possible attributes could include, inspect my data, pass-on, store, copy, modify, analyse, sell on, anonymize, compare, inform an authority, convert, hold, private/social, check, stop, set or change validity period, set delete date or delete.

Rights:  classic “who, what, how and when”.  HOW has WHO been given the right to do WHAT to my data and WHEN!