The lab is a pioneer of “reality mining” â€“ studying how people behave by using the crumbs of digital data our every action now produces.
“You are what you do and who you do it with,” says Pentland. Researchers and corporations have realised the potential of such data mining, he points out. “It is already happening and it is time for people to get a stake.”
If people gain control of their own personal data mines, rather than allowing them to be built and held by corporations, they could use them not only to prove who they are but also to inform smart recommendation systems, Pentland says. […]
He recognises that allowing even limited access to detailed logs of your actions may seem scary. […]
What he envisages […] is the creation of a central body, supported by a combination of cellphone networks, banks and government bodies.
That bank could provide “slices” of data to third parties that want to check a person’s identity. That information could be much like that required to verify high-level security clearance in government, says Pentland. […]
Getting people to share facets of their rich identity is still likely to be a tough sell. “There will be an incredibly complex matrix of sensitivities and privacy expectations when it comes to managing such data,” says J. Trevor Hughes, executive director of the International Association of Privacy Professionals.