What is personal and what is corporate?

Submitted by Isto Huvila on Fri, 12/20/2013 - 08:39

What was your information and what is your information? The evolution of social information services, and a deeper collaboration and information sharing between individuals and corporations has raised new questions of information and data ownership. You might ask whether the photos you upload to a photosharing site are still yours? The answer is at the moment probably yes and no.

The photosharing site has asked you to accept a Terms of Service document that gives them broad rights to do whatever they seem fit with your material. At the same time, however, from the corporate perspective it is not altogether clear whether these terms can be enforced to 100%. The lack of clarity and its implications for knowing are briefly discussed in the Information services and Digital literacy (p. 65).

The issues were also discussed in the beginning of December at a World Economic Forum sponsored workshop. Linnet Taylor describes the main conclusion of the workshop that there seems to be a rather broad agreement of a need to develop a new taxonomy of data:

"Industry, government, and citizens are too frequently in disagreement as to what exactly constitutes personal data and what doesn’t – and without an understanding of how data gets positioned in each category, or flows between them, it’s impossible to have a real discussion about how to govern and regulate those flows." (Taylor, 2013)

Citizens get anxious and companies have difficulties to exploit data in an efficient manner if there is no clear consensus of what is ok and what might be too personal to use.

(Published also in http://blogs.abo.fi/ikm/2013/12/20/what-is-personal-and-what-is-corporate/)