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+ The Hub of All Things would enable individuals to create a repository of their own data to use and exchange for services.

Today, data belongs to whoever collects it, or to whoever owns the technology that collects it. But I believe that if we all owned our own data, it could help the digital economy to boom.

As the world becomes increasingly connected, more and more data is collected. Although this has great potential, it’s also causing worries about security, privacy, confidentiality and trust. Some people become so worried they delete their Facebook accounts or stop using Google.

If people do this, it affects the quality of the data that’s available and raises the prospect that the supply of data could shrink. Regulation designed to address people’s fears could discourage investment in innovation, denying us the advanced technology that could otherwise create opportunities and jobs.

I think that enabling people to own their own data would reverse this trend. Having your own repository for all your data would solve the privacy issue. And because the data would be valuable and useful to you, you’d ensure it was accurate – thus solving the quality issue. It would enable you to make better use of the data too. So, for example, you could combine the temperature data from your smart home with similar data from your car and your office building plus the weather forecast data. The result? You’d know what to wear for the temperatures you’re likely to encounter.

When data is valuable to us in this way, it is worth something and we can create a market for it. You could exchange certain data for services you want, such as using your diet data to get personalised grocery bundles. And as a result, organisations could personalise their offerings in a way that is scalable.

None of this is easy. I know this first-hand because I’m the principal investigator on a project looking to make this a reality through something called the Hub of All Things (HAT). We want to help everyone use their own data to make better decisions. And we want organisations to give us better advice and scalable personalised services.

I think everyone should have a HAT of their own data, just as you have your own email or bank account. We expect HAT to be ready in 2015, and I hope it will start a revolution that sees us all owning, controlling and using our data for the good of the economy.