Whenever you click “yes” to cookies on a website, several companies gain access to your data to sell and manage (e.g., the New York Times has 42 trackers that track behavior). GDPR and data protection legislation mainly act as red tape, and since there is little enforcement of compliance, there are too few consequences for malicious actors. Rights are worth little if they cannot be enforced.
Frederik believes that if people were empowered with the knowledge and ability to act, they would do so.
To empower peoples’ choice in where and how their data is used, a two part solution is proposed: increase awareness through a research project uncovering and mapping the actors that have collected body data and, develop a web service leveraging the knowledge from the research proposal to let people make GDPR requests to identified companies and collect it in a simple way for people to understand where their data is located.
The aim is to deeply understand the interwoven net of actors in the data broker space and how data is shared.
The aim is to deeply understand the interwoven net of actors in the data broker space and how data is shared and distributed between companies and for what purposes.
Through the project, Frederik will start small, using a limited amount of people’s data from friends and family as case studies to identify where their data is located. Then he will recruit volunteers for a broader, deep dive using differing amounts of volunteered data.
He will use the knowledge acquired as the foundation for the second part. During the research proposal, intermediate findings will be regularly published through a website and social media channels.
The final deliverable of the research project will be a report in the form of an article ready for peer-review or publication through relevant partner channels. Additionally, a web service will allow users to consensually fill in a simple form of what data they would like to be searched for. Then the service will automatically make a structured GDPR inquiry on the user’s behalf to all known data brokers and websites identified during the research.
Updated November 2022