Personal Information Management Systems: A User-Centric Privacy Utopia?

Published in Internet Policy Review (18 December 2020), 9(4), pp 1 - 25; https://doi.org/10.14763/2020.4.1536

18 Pages Posted: 16 Feb 2021

See all articles by Heleen Janssen

Heleen Janssen

University of Cambridge - Computer Laboratory

Jennifer Cobbe

University of Cambridge - Computer Laboratory

Jatinder Singh

University of Cambridge -- Dept. Computer Science & Technology (Computer Laboratory)

Date Written: December 2020

Abstract

Personal information management systems (PIMS) aka personal data stores (PDSs) represent an emerging class of technology that seeks to empower individuals regarding their data. Presented as an alternative to current ‘centralised’ data processing approaches, whereby user data is (rather opaquely) collected and processed by organisations, PDSs provide users with technical mechanisms for aggregating and managing their own data, determining when and with whom their data is shared, and the computation that may occur over that data. Though arguments for decentralisation may be appealing, there are questions regarding the extent to which PDSs actually address data processing concerns. This paper explores these questions from the perspective of PDS users. Specifically, we focus on data protection, including how PDSs relate to rights and the legal bases for processing, as well as how PDSs affect the information asymmetries and surveillance practices inherent online. We show that, despite the purported benefits of PDSs, many of the systemic issues of online/data ecosystems remain.

Keywords: Personal data stores, decentralisation, user empowerment, GDPR, information asymmetries, lawful processing grounds, data subjet rights, privacy self-management

Suggested Citation

Janssen, Heleen and Cobbe, Jennifer and Singh, Jatinder, Personal Information Management Systems: A User-Centric Privacy Utopia? (December 2020). Published in Internet Policy Review (18 December 2020), 9(4), pp 1 - 25; https://doi.org/10.14763/2020.4.1536 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3779655 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3779655

Heleen Janssen (Contact Author)

University of Cambridge - Computer Laboratory ( email )

15 JJ Thomson Avenue
William Gates Building
Cambridge, CB3 0FD
United Kingdom

Jennifer Cobbe

University of Cambridge - Computer Laboratory ( email )

15 JJ Thomson Avenue
William Gates Building
Cambridge, CB3 0FD
United Kingdom

Jatinder Singh

University of Cambridge -- Dept. Computer Science & Technology (Computer Laboratory) ( email )

15 JJ Thomson Avenue
William Gates Building
Cambridge, CB3 0FD
United Kingdom

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