News Flash: Microsoft Explores Eliminating “Inverse Privacy”

January 13, 2019

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Reports claim software giant is seeking to increase users’ control over personal data

Microsoft is working on giving people greater insights into the private data collected about them, according to various media reports. Project “Bali”, which is in a private testing phase, aims to create a “new personal data bank which puts users in control of all data collected about them… The bank will enable users to store all data (raw and inferred) generated by them. It will allow the user to visualise, manage, control, share and monetise the data,” according to the project web page accessed by online publication ITPro.

ITPro reports Project Bali is focused on the concept of inverse privacy, which refers to data that other entities have about you, which you don’t have yourself. “Your inversely private information, whether collected or derived, allows institutions to serve you better,” Microsoft researchers wrote in a 2014 paper. “But access to that information–especially if it were presented to you in a convenient form–would do you much good. It would allow you to correct possible errors in the data, to have a better idea of your health status and your credit rating, and to identify ways to improve your productivity and quality of life.”

It is not yet clear how Project Bali would enable individuals to access and even alter the data held by third parties. Microsoft doesn’t appear to have commented on the media reports, which speculate that its developers are focused on methods to help users gather data from various websites only, as alterations to stored data may have to go through legal channels.

For more information, please see the report by ITPro

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