This piece is part of a series of posts from MyData 2016 – an international conference that focuses on human centric personal information management. The conference is co-hosted by the Open Knowledge Finland chapter of the Open Knowledge International Network.


What does personal data have to do with open data? We usually preach NOT to open personal data, and to be responsible about it. So why should an open knowledge organisation devote a whole conference to topics related to personal data management?  I will explore these questions in a series of blog posts written straight from the MyData16 conference in Helsinki, Finland.

MyData is a very abstract concept that is still in the process of refinement. In its essence, MyData is about giving control of the personal data trail that we leave on the internet to the users. Under the MyData framework, users decide where to store their data and can control and guide the use this data can have. In most applications today, our data is closed and owned by other big corporations, where it is primarily used to make money. The MyData concept looks to bring back the control to the user, but also tries to develop the commercial use of the data, making everyone happy.

Under the MyData framework, users decide where to store their data and can control and guide the use this data can have.

Here is Mika Honkanen, vice chairman of the OK Finland board, explaining about MyData:


Personally, after this weekend’s announcement that Facebook will use Whatsapp messages to improve the ads experience (effectively using our private messages to generate revenue for Facebook), I understood something I already knew, but decided to deny – my own data is not free. Sure, I can opt out from the current terms of use, but that won’t last forever. Very few platforms give me the choice about what will happen to my data. I would even prefer to pay for an app to know that my data is mine, but very few apps even offer this. My data is rarely *open* for me. It is sometimes held hostage. How can we build a system that challenges this landscape and provides opportunities for users to understand their personal data?

ultrahackFor those of you who missed Open Knowledge Festival in 2012 (like me), Open Knowledge Finland know how to produce events. Besides the conference program (and super exciting evening program!), you can also find the Ultrahack, a 72 hours hackathon that will try and answer my questions above and will be involved in creating applicable uses to the MyData concept.  I am excited to see how it will turn out and what uses – social and fiscal ones, people can find.

For the following three days, keep following us on the OKI Twitter account for updates from the conference. Check the MyData website, and let us know if you want us to go to a session for you!