18-25 June 2021
UTC timezone

How we can solve the personal data problem.

20 Jun 2021, 19:00
Talk Track 1


Björn Balazs


Data collaboratives, trusts, cooperatives and many more have for long been discussed as a cure for the current problems with personal data. None of them so far succeeded in practice. I think, we can change this.

In my talk, I will provide a vision for a system, that is trustworthy, democratic, transparent and that guarantees digital privacy for each and everyone, while providing fair access to personal data for those interested. I will show that a 'global digital personal data cooperative' can be realized and what we in KDE can do for it right now.

Compared to a traditional cooperative, this is facing some special challenges, such as:

  • Personal data is immaterial
  • The data is extremely sensible
  • The problem to be solved is global
  • There is an existing market, where we can individually trade our data for 'free' services
  • How we want to handle personal data differs per person and will change over time

I will show how we as KDE, free software communities and civil society can deal with these challenges and just start hacking the system right away.

We can actually change the world. We can make it securely private again, without loosing the comfort of big data.

This is a big vision and this is my first step into general public. Thanks for joining despite.

Authors' Bio

Björn is Psychologist and working as UX expert and software project manager. He has been lurking around free software for long and has been involved in creating initiatives like OpenUsability.org, the KDE visual design group or most recently KUserFeedback. But he is mainly qualified to talk about this topic through the paradox of his life: As a UX expert he wants to know everything about the users - as a privacy activist he wants to avoid that personal data is generated in the first place.

Primary author

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