Personal Data: Thinking Inside the Box

  • Amir Chaudhry University of Cambridge
  • Jon Crowcroft University of Cambridge
  • Heidi Howard University of Cambridge
  • Anil Madhavapeddy University of Cambridge
  • Richard Mortier University of Cambridge
  • Hamed Haddadi Queen Mary University of London
  • Derek McAuley University of Nottingham
Keywords: Personal Data, Computer Systems, Privacy


We are in a ‘personal data gold rush’ driven by advertising being the primary revenue source for most online companies. These companies accumulate extensive personal data about individuals with minimal concern for us, the subjects of this process. This can cause many harms: privacy infringement, personal and professional embarrassment, restricted access to labour markets, restricted access to highest value pricing, and many others. There is a critical need to provide technologies that enable alternative practices, so that individuals can par- ticipate in the collection, management and consumption of their personal data. In this paper we discuss the Databox, a personal networked device (and associated services) that col- lates and mediates access to personal data, allowing us to re- cover control of our online lives. We hope the Databox is a first step to re-balancing power between us, the data subjects, and the corporations that collect and use our data. 


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How to Cite
Chaudhry, A., Crowcroft, J., Howard, H., Madhavapeddy, A., Mortier, R., Haddadi, H., & McAuley, D. (2015). Personal Data: Thinking Inside the Box. Aarhus Series on Human Centered Computing, 1(1), 4.
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