A new, Europe-led Data Economy — how can we make it happen?
Can we make Europe the leader of a new data economy — one that is ethical, distributed and decentralized? EcoSteer addresses this very challenge, here’s some food for thought, and action.
The Origins of Data Privacy
The concept of Data Privacy dates from the pre-internet era, when personal data was a set of static information — name, address, car license plate, social security ID, service history etc.
These data would be used for a limited range of services, by a limited number of parties, like employers, banks, utility companies, doctors… The objective of data privacy regulations was to protect data sets from being shared with and accessed by unauthorized third-parties, mostly by ensuring that repositories of static data were not vulnerable to external attacks.
Personal Data Today
With the internet and the rise of connected devices — smart phones, smart cars, smart energy meters, smart watches… — every citizen has become a source of continuous data streams that capture and describe our status and behaviour in overwhelming detail. The availability of this unprecedented amount of information can enable a variety of parties to provide us with innovative services — think of health & safety risks monitoring, usage-based services, location-based services, autonomous driving and so on. The applications are endless and the potential is largely untapped.
Yet today, this “behavioural surplus”  in our data streams is collected, enriched and commercialised by the largest tech players without the citizen’s consent.
Obviously, we must be able to decide ourselves which parties can have access to the data streams generated by our devices, and we should be able to change our mind anytime, granting access to certain parties and revoking it from others.
From Data Sets to Data Streams
The widespread adoption of connected devices that generate continuous flows of data should make us shift our focus from the protection of data at the point of its collection — i.e. the “database” containing the data sets — to the protection of data at the point of its generation — i.e. the device, or even the components within a device, whatever source generating a data stream.
From Data Privacy to Data Ownership
“New decentralised digital technologies such as blockchain offer a further possibility for both individuals and companies to manage data flows and usage, based on individual free choice and self-determination. Such technologies will make dynamic data portability in real time possible for individuals and companies, along with various compensation models”.
This implies a shift from the concept of Data Privacy — the protection of data sets from access by unauthorised parties –to the concept of Data Ownership — the freely granting & revoking of access to data streams to legitimate parties. Ecosteer believes this concept should be at the core of Dynamic Data Portability, as clearly stated in the European Strategy For Data document:
Data Access Control through Decentralization
“[Data intermediaries] have as a main objective the establishment of a business, a legal and potentially also technical relation between data holders, including data subjects, on the one hand, and potential users on the other hand, and assist both parties in a transaction of data assets between the two”.
As stated, Data Ownership must be provided at the point of data stream generation, i.e. the connected device itself. Toachieve this objective, “decentralisation” of the access to the data stream access is essential.
Contrary to how data is sent, received and distributed by tech players today, this means that the role of a centralised data hub that receives and distributes data from connected devices is changed to the role of a ‘blind’ broker. “Blind” as in a tool which has the sole responsibility of distributing encrypted data streams, without having any visibility on data, nor the possibility of collecting or cross-referencing them. These ‘blind brokers’ are in fact the “Data intermediaries” described in the EU Data Governance Act
End the Monopoly over Mobile Operating Systems
Clearly that is not the case with our current Mobile Operating Systems, which give their corporate owners full visibility over all data generated by whatever sensors on citizens’ smartphones.
We believe the EU has the duty to promote the development of a fair, decentralised, open-source alternative to current Mobile Operating Systems, based on European values and regulations.
End the Monopoly over Data Monetization
Today, devices’ data monetization is the monopoly of a few US and Chinese tech giants. In order to give EU companies the possibility to compete fairly in this market, the EU should update its policies by decentralizing data monetization rights, to allow individuals to exchange their data for services or cashback, or to opt-out entirely.
EU companies would thus have the possibility to create their own Data Exchange Hubs, where their business customers and citizens can freely control and share the data streams generated by their connected devices with the companies’ business partners and be compensated for it, in all transparency.
Larger corporations would generate revenues from the management of such Data Exchange Hubs, thus multiplying the value of their IoT investments, in smart meters or car telematics for example, while SMEs would have unprecedented access to highly valuable, real time data streams, enabling new types of business in compliance with the GDPR.
EcoSteer is an IoT and Blockchain software startup for data ownership and monetization. EcoSteer patented Data Ownership Platform (DOP) is based on end-to-end encryption and smart contracts. The DOP is a data sharing governance layer that decentralizes data access control and gives it back to the data owners. The data owners have full control over third-party access to their data and are compensated for the data they are sharing.
The Data Ownership Platform enables corporate data stream marketplaces to be GDPR-compliant and decentralized. These marketplaces allow companies to invite selected partners to access IoT customer data in all transparency and in compliance with privacy laws, bringing citizens and partners together in monetizing their data value chain.
EcoSteer’s Patented Data Ownership Platform (DOP) allows citizens to control access to their data streams and to monetize it, automating GDPR compliance and laying the foundations for a new, Decentralized DataEconomy.
Imagine a world where citizens have exclusive control over any data stream they rightfully own, can freely share data streams with companies, corporations and institutions, by granting and revoking access in real time, and be rewarded for the data they share with tokens, which they can use to purchase or get discounts on goods and services, tailored to their needs.
Ecosteer is looking for alliance partners to realise this future with its proven — and patented -technology and solutions.
 (Zubov S., 2019) “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism”
 Already regulated by the EU’s current GDPR
 US Patent US010771243