We need to claim ownership for our virtual identity data

Summary

Personal values such as care for society and an increased awareness regarding risks of the ongoing digitization and datafication of everyday life will be determining factors for citizen participation in the governance of smart home provision.

A multi-stakeholder cooperative approach could solve adoption-hindering constraints, such as lack of interoperability, in short-term in minimum on a local level. Citizens would own their data, including its destiny, and secure peer-to-peer data market platforms could evolve empowering citizen economic participation.

My proposed framework with its comprehensive data value system view and multi-stakeholder cooperation at its core might provide a useful tool for strategy discussions for any stakeholder who has an interest in healthy development of the IoT, big data, and sustainable smart home provisions.

Inroduction

The Internet of Things (IoT) and big data are not new terms. But their adoption and the formation of a smart technology / smart home market, especially for data, are in progress with unclear outcomes and consequences. Mobile, social media, big data, sensor, and locations-based technologies are being integrated more and more, allowing for new possibilities. Smart solutions, such as intelligent home energy, security, and entertainment, controlled remotely with a mobile device of choice and integrating information from work, private, and public environments for a safer, healthier, more convenient and more efficient life are likely to be adopted by more institutions and individuals in the future. The infrastructure and services that enable this exciting new smart living are provided by device manufacturers, big network infrastructure and telecommunication companies, and Internet service providers, as well as by a growing number of new, innovative firms in this area.

Big data analysis attempts to “make sense” of any unstructured data. Nonetheless, scale is an important factor in mining valuable correlations for knowledge about the environment, businesses, customers, and citizens that can be used to develop services based on prediction capabilities. Companies like Google use their immense amount of information to produce knowledge that can be monetized. Competitors vie for a stack of the data from the increasingly connected world.

A closer look at this evolving technology ecosystem and big data value system has been motivated by the observation that an increased commercialization has occurred, while common users continue to enjoy freemium offers that lack the transparency to explain the business model behind the scenes. There are many examples to provide insight for how and why the current practices—such as re-use, combination, and sale of data to third parties—must be considered a threat to a sustainable data value system where citizens should have their economic and social stake secured for the future as well.

Cooperative data governance

There are logical justifications for why a cooperative governance model is required for equitable sustainability in the IoT provision. I’ve elaborated an IoT sustainability framework for strategic planning and the governance of smart home data, which takes the wider context of the IoT and big data into account. The increasing value of data that leads to an intensified commercialization of the digitized world does not stop at the private home’s door.

Big data predictions on an individual and societal level will require a paradigmatic shift in how data is used and valued. I am sure that data is becoming a good of public interest, just as is the infrastructure used to create, transport, and communicate the data. However, I am not suggesting waiting for regulatory intervention and instead propose collaboration and the empowerment of citizens for controlling their virtual life while holding a stake in the value they create as IoT / smart home data creators.

StrategicSustainableGovernanceFrameworkFigure: Strategic Sustainable Governance Framework (Mathias Sager)

I have found a reinforcing relationship between risk perception and the importance of a cooperative governance model as a strategic option for IoT in general and on the example of smart home provision. Personal values such as care for society and an increased awareness regarding risks of the ongoing digitization and datafication of everyday life will be determining factors for citizen participation in the governance of smart home provision.

The rules of the growing IoT / smart home market in the future are not yet decided, neither in terms of the level of benefit realization nor in terms of risk optimization. This opportunity should be taken to actively create awareness about data governance and shape the IoT / smart home provisions from a holistic perspective. A cooperative legal form would provide for required organizational principles, such as democratic control and economic participation of its members.

A multi-stakeholder cooperative approach could solve adoption-hindering constraints, such as lack of interoperability, in short-term in minimum on a local level. Citizens would own their data, including its destiny, and secure peer-to-peer data market platforms could evolve empowering citizen economic participation.

Transparency and education are measures to reduce current uncertainty that will have immediate positive effects on the adoption of existing products and services on one hand. On the other hand, they open the way for a bottom-up approach for innovation that only can have a positive influence on finding the somehow still missing IoT / smart home use case. Therefore, my proposed framework with its comprehensive data value system view and multi-stakeholder cooperation at its core might provide a useful tool for strategy discussions for any stakeholder who has an interest in healthy development of the IoT, big data, and sustainable smart home provisions.

While this work was addressing a currently futuristic topic, the smart home technology ecosystem will continue to develop and the data value system overall needs close monitoring and re-evaluation regarding sustainability measures and governance models that are suitable for respective for digital economies and societies.

Please contact me for any further details and material related to this extensive master thesis project.

About mathias sager

Thinking and writing for happiness, painting colorfully, and enabling personal growth for all. Fostering co-operative and humanitarian principles, economic and social equality, as well as environmental sustainability. Using broad international experience and progressive, egalitarian and global outlook to promote care for the next generation.
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