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SUMMER DAVOS: Kaliya Hamlin, Identity Woman
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altKaliya Hamlin, also known as ‘Identity Woman’, has been working on user-centric digital identity for almost 10 years. In August of this year she was voted to the Management Council of the Identity Ecosystem Steering Committee, created by the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC). Earlier this year she was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum (WEF). She has been quoted in a range of highly publicised and respected outlets such as the New York Times, MIT Technology Review and Business Week.
 
Kaliya became known as Identity Woman in 2005 when Doc Searls, a highly respected technology writer in America, encouraged her and others to start blogging. She needed a name for her blog and the rest is history. In 2010 she founded the Personal Data Ecosystem Consortium in order to help build a network whereby firms and individuals work together to harvest personal data in a way that is non-intrusive and mutually beneficial. Business Tianjin was lucky to find a moment in Kaliya's hectic schedule to talk to her about her work. 
 
Could you give us some background and information about the Personal Data Ecosystem Consortium? What are the organisation’s main objectives?
I founded the consortium 2 years ago to connect start ups, whose companies play a part in an emerging ecosystem where people collect, manage and get value from their own personal data. We are connecting these companies who are building ethical data services/markets (in contrast to all the stalking with cookies etc.). We are engaging with regulators in Europe and North America, explaining and promoting these new models. We are also advocating this opportunity to be both ‘pro-people’ and ‘pro-business’. We also publish a monthly report for businesses who are trying to understand what is happening in this market (it can be found at http://www.pde.cc/journal). We are hired to give interpersonal one and two day briefings and to educate big companies and venture firms. 
 
We have a vision of a future where people have ‘data banks’, a place where people can store their own data in ‘personal clouds’, and there are many different service providers they can find to do this for them (just like there are many banks for people to store their money). This new future requires companies we do business with today (and in the process of doing business generate data about those transactions) to give people this data. 
 
We have help from government initiatives like Midata in the UK that says companies should give people copies of their data. Additionally the US treasury department has put out a proposal for "smart disclosure" similar to midata in the UK, but neither are laws at this point, just suggestions. 
 
Companies need to understand the value and economic opportunity of returning data to people for storage in their personal data bank in order for them to have access and interact with a customer who has a huge data collection about themselves so that it can be used to provide a better more streamlined service.
 
altCould you tell us precisely what you mean when talking about ‘personal data’ and give us some basic examples?
Well there is your basic contact information, but there is also way more, such as all the things I have bought, all the places I have surfed on the web, my geo-location logs, my ‘likes’ and ‘wish-lists’, medical records and other kinds of records from engaging with systems (for example, school records). 
 
Many of our readers are familiar with Facebook.. Can you describe the ways in which this particular site makes use of our data and what you would like to change about it? 
The issue with Facebook is that you are locked into their system. You can't move to a different service provider and still talk to all of you friends. It isn't like e-mail which is federated. However, Facebook is just social. If you look at the data map there are many different types of data that we generate as we live our digital lives that go beyond ’social’ and it is really sensitive data. We should have a choice of provider who we trust (including being able to run our own server in our own house if we want) to help us manage this data and get value. So it is really going beyond what Facebook has in two ways: choice of provider and still being able to connect, talk and share with our friends. We need an environment where companies are working on our behalf as our agent's - accountable to the people who use it NOT the advertisers who they are loyal to now!
 
altPersonal data is said to become the ‘new oil’, a valuable commodity of the 21st century. Can you comment on this and also the emergence of personal data as a new asset class?
Data is valuable and data about people is very valuable. There is a saying of one of the companies in our consortium - Personal (their website is Personal.com) "Small Data is the New Oil." They say this in contrast to ‘big data’, which is data collected in vast quantities and then analysed in aggregate. Small data on the other hand is a really big data set just about ‘me’, ‘my’, ‘small’ data, and the value this could have when shared with companies and service providers I trust. This is what our companies are talking about doing, supporting people in collecting their personal data, their personal assets (like money I earn is a personal asset), in a data bank where one can use it to gain value. Where it can be ‘mined’ by a service provider working on an individual’s behalf. If we can create new networks of services that respect people’s rights to their own data and work with them, the benefits of big data can be had without the creepiness of it all.
 
Right now almost all the companies who collect our data just collect it and never share a copy with us. In our ecosystem we will do business with companies just as we do today and we will get copies of the data generated in those transactions. We will get copies of data we generate when we use our mobile devices, our televisions, our washing machines, and any other electronics that we use. We will collect all this data in our personal cloud. The company that provides this service works for us, we will have control over the data and who is our ‘data bank’ provider. Companies in the Personal Data Ecosystem Consortium are building services like this. Mydex, AllFiled, Kynetx Cloud OS, Planetwork's Citizen Cloud, Personal and others.
 
altWhat advice/precautions can you can you give our readers to protect their personal data?
I think if they are concerned then they should explore some of the companies in the consortium and what they have to offer (for example, the Personal Data Ecosystem Consortium, http://www.pde.cc/startup-circle). There is also the option to turn on ‘do not track’ in your internet browser. 
 
What have you achieved by coming to the 2012 Summer Davos in Tianjin?
I got to participate in sessions that were looking at how the OECD principles might be updated to reflect these new ideas and new market opportunities. I was also in sessions about entrepreneurship and ecosystems and learned how unique our approach is. There are often incubators and accelerator programs for small companies. However, not many form consortiums - or more importantly have people like me who help them form connections so early in their life cycle as companies/industries.
 
You have organised a great deal of events or ‘unconferences’. Could you tell us what an ‘unconference’ is and recommend a personal favourite? 
I have a whole totally different career besides being ‘Identity Woman’ and leading this personal data ecosystem consortium.... I have been designing and facilitating unconferences for professional communities since 2005.  I have designed these unconferences for communities such as Scala (a programming language), Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council, and IEEE Engineering Medicine and Biology Society.
 
These unconferences are events that are designed to be participant driven meetings. One of the main differences from a traditional conference is that the content and ideas are decided upon on the day of the event. So for example, this week we just had the Internet Identity Workshop (http://www.internetidentityworkshop.com), and every day we sat in a circle at the beginning and created the agenda together. Then, we had a 5 session multi-track conference with 5-8 sessions happening at the same time.  
 
Our ideal clients are communities that already have conferences but are bored with them. Professional communities and academic communities- people working in fast moving industries. Our format gives these communities a whole different way to connect with one another. Find out more about unconferences at  www.unconference.net.
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By Justin Toy
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