News from the initiative

Give me *my* data: online crowd-sourcing platform

20/12/2011

$s Published: . Tagged in Access To Information, Crowd-sourcing, technology, transparency

Source: Ideas Incubator

Date: 19th December 2011

This particular idea is quite large in scale. The foundation for this idea is that in Europe, companies (e.g. supermarkets, energy companies, telephone companies, marketing firms, even Facebook and Google, …) are obliged to turn over ‘any’ information they have about any citizen, should he or she personally request for it.

So, the idea is to make such public information requests happen easily and intuitively, on a massive scale, and to make the aggregation and (anonymous) sharing of this data possible.

As the first step, there should exist a website at which any citizen can download a relevant letter template and the relevant address of any company she is a customer with. This contact data and template could be created through crowd-sourcing. As a result, the citizen should be able to mail, fax or send a personal and legally binding request for her data within the timespan of 5 minutes or less.

Dedicated company profiles can then track the performance of the companies to these requests (e.g. average time to answer, quality of response, etc.), allow people to share tips of how to get an answer, and so on. Through this public platform, specific companies can be more easily compared and reviewed, similar to TripAdvisor, for instance. Data can be aggregated and compared by company, by business area, and so on.

As the second step, there should exist a collection of easy-to-use tools that can digitize and upload any information that has been given to the citizen by the companies. Such data might be provided on paper, in weird formats, unconventional time periods, and whatever. There might thus be a need to develop a specific tool, for a specific company. Again, this could happen through crowd-sourcing and by encouraging private developers to share their tools.

As the third step, there should exist some sort of online platform that allows the citizen to open up her information to others, even anonymously, so this data can be shared and compared (e.g. does a similar family in terms of number and age of children, house, etc. consume the same amount of energy than my family, and if they do, what do they pay for it). It would be interesting to compare such data locally, but as much internationally, for instance, based on real, ‘individual’ data. There might well be the case that people are intrinsically inclined to share their data if they can benefit from it, for instance by learning from others…

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