- Companies are turning to technology to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Personal data could play a role in identifying trends and raising recommendations.
- This could create a new type of data marketplace.
One trend that had been making waves across the Valley is how to monetise personal data. It raises the important question of data ownership, access and privacy. But it also presents many opportunities.
Our phones track our steps and many – not just the rich – wear inexpensive wearable devices that can collect our vitals and lifestyle. How could we use this data more efficiently? Could users define proactively what their data can be used for, such as accelerating the cure for COVID-19, or dementia or cancer?
In a scenario where certified applications are launched for these purposes, personal data from individuals’ wearable devices or smartphones could automatically be transmitted. This data would be encrypted, anonymised at the source and only the parts that are relevant would be shared, along with the digital rights management rules attached, much like how music is currently bought and sold online.
It could then be enforced by blockchain smart-contracts that ensure that data cannot be used for other purposes. We could easily find ourselves in a scenario where individuals can opt in and provide anonymised data for free to accelerate a cure for certain diseases and then make some of our data accessible to businesses for a fee.
With this data available from around the world, intelligent, machine learning algorithms could then identify trends human experts can miss, then raise recommendations for professionals to review and validate. The process could speed up detection in the case of COVID-19.
If someone wants to use the data for commercial purposes, their application has to be certified, similar to the Apple App Store model. Companies could announce the type of data needed, and then owners (or data trusts acting on behalf of the owners) can opt in explicitly, and get paid.