Who are you on the Web?
What is the scope of data that exists about a person online? In this video we explore the current state of personal data. If you are a frequent user of the web, then this video is for you.
Hi! My name is Yulia, I'm a curriculum engineer at Inrupt.
In this video we'll talk about who we are on the web. We'll define the scope of data that exists about a person online and then explore the current state of this personal data. If you are a frequent user of the web then this video is for you.
The extent of data pertaining to a single person online varies because there are many ways to exist on the web. Someone can be an active user with an email address, a website, Instagram and LinkedIn accounts; they could be using services from Google, Amazon, and Microsoft; they could have multiple bank accounts; and they may also have other accounts related to their health and citizenship.
And in all of these cases they have to set up profiles to provide information to each one of these services. Often this information is nearly identical like name and email address. And yet over and over again, each service collects a version of that person's information.
This data exchange between individuals and organizations is the interaction that fuels the digital world. It is an essential part of each person’s daily lives as well as how organizations plan for, create, and adapt services based on requisite personal data from consumers. Setting up profiles, and creating new accounts is only one example of redundancy in data exchanges and collection. Let's take a closer look at the personal data journey for an average user.
Information accumulates across different systems as a person interacts with the world’s organizations and services, and these interactions start early. When a child is born, there is data about their birth associated with the hospital services; data also exists about their residency with the local government; and later, as they get older, information continues to accumulate - schools, places of worship, universities, clubs, certifications, and more.
Today, all of these organizations use software to manage data and operations. Typically this is done using devices that are connected to the Internet via an application and organizational database.
This means that there are already digital records of birth, residence, and education on the web. As a person grows and develops they might move, go to different doctors, stop using their school-provided email, or sign up for a variety of services online. They might switch where they blog, or how they consume entertainment. In this journey of growth and evolution, a trail of untapped useful data is created and left behind by each user, existing outside of the user's control and often without their knowledge.
To recap what we've discussed in this video, it is difficult to define the boundaries of all the information about a person that exists online. This is because information about them is currently scattered throughout a variety of services, applications, and databases. In a lot of cases, most of the data about a given person is not known, controlled, or even created by them.
In our next video we'll take a brief tour of the history of the World Wide Web to discover how we ended up in this scattered state of personal data. Starting with Web 1.0 and the original design for the web, moving on to Web 2.0 in its recent state, and what benefits and challenges arise with the traditional way of building and maintaining applications and services.
To keep learning more about this, as well as how personal data can be treated, owned, and used differently by both users and organizations, check out the description below this video, or hit next on this playlist!