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25 May 2022

For over 50 years, we’ve embraced change and explored new solutions to liberate the hidden potential of each era. Today, this means innovating in the sphere of personal data. With this in mind, we are pleased to announce our recent membership of MyData Global.

What is MyData?

MyData is a movement of over 100 organizations working with one unified purpose. In total, it consists of almost 400 individual members from over 40 countries and six continents. Together, they facilitate the sharing of values and objectives for the ethical usage of personal data. For thousands of experts worldwide, this is invaluable. They are a collaborative community of entrepreneurs, activists, academics, listed corporations, public agencies, and developers. And as in every collective, the many strengthen the individual.

With roots in activism and societal reform, MyData is no stranger to thought leadership in personal liberties. Since 2016, the movement has been advocating for digital self-determination and human rights in the digital space. The current trend is for organizations to exploit personal data as much as possible. But MyData takes a more measured approach. It recognizes both the apparent opportunities and overriding concerns while steering development in the right direction.

Why it matters?

The answer to why MyData matters is simple: we are in the midst of a collective shift in consciousness. Living in modern society means being confronted with issues of digital privacy. For example, we are all reminded of the power of our data each time we visit a website: do you accept or reject all the cookies? Such developments have made us all more attuned to the data we share and how it is used.

Two organizations, one mission

The legal and ethical use of data is at the center of Capgemini’s propositions for “collaborative data ecosystems.” This is the name given to any heterogeneous system in which data is shared between participants to achieve a given purpose1. This system can be comprised of individuals, organizations, and businesses. It can also equal the combined parts of the same organization, legal frameworks, or technology.

The ecosystem’s success depends on treating individuals as integral, sovereign participants in the collaborative data model. All individuals should be given control over the data that describes them, regardless of whether they are customers, users, or employees. The right to exercise that control is commonly referred to as “data sovereignty.”

In many countries, this is a legal requirement. For example, the European Union has legislated the General Data Protection Regulation. Like many others, at Capgemini, we see these regulations as stepping stones to higher achievements. Our ambition is to work with our clients to make these principles a part of our organizational ethos.

Empowering sovereign individuals

To truly empower individuals through personal data, MyData commits to working towards and advocating some guiding principles. By collaborating with governments, organizations, and experts, MyData gives individuals the ability to use their personal data the way they want to use it. This entails making important decisions on how and when to share it with the security it deserves.

For individuals, the benefits of encouraging self-determination are clear. But organizations also stand to benefit from this model. Their data yields more valuable insight in a more ethical manner. This human-centric approach turns out to be a win-win. Working as a single entity, the community builds tools and shares knowledge for combined growth.

MyData’s vision is one that sees these principles become standard practice in application design. As an organization that is always striving to take the progressive route, Capgemini shares this vision. Joining MyData gives us additional tools to better understand and activate privacy policies. Only then can individuals give, deny, and revoke their informed consent. We believe the terms and conditions for using personal data should be the result of fair negotiations between the organizations and individuals.

Globally local

The specifics of how personal data is processed often vary from one country to the next. Having knowledge of many systems can help to identify both positive and negative ways of processing data. This knowledge can then be used to improve applications across the board. MyData operates 24 local hubs around the world. These locals hubs are self-managed groups of MyData members promoting the organization’s purpose and mission in local communities, adapting them to the needs and topics of the geography.

What to expect

By working with MyData and applying these principles, Capgemini is committing to a sustainable and prosperous digital society. The fruits of such open collaboration are evidenced, for example, by the rise and maturity of phenomena like open-source code and open data. The power of the community of developers and data scientists – supported by such initiatives as the European Union and Capgemini’s own and the many national data portals – turns stagnant datasets into the lifeblood of apps and insight that benefit society at large. The contributions of the community’s members result in a sense of individual ownership for all involved. This is the approach we plan to take when innovating in personal data. For over five decades, we have helped businesses better understand their users. Now, working within the MyData community, we are busy leveraging that experience to produce the ethical solutions we all demand for the data ecosystems we are part of..

Catalyzing Fair Data Solutions at the MyData 2022 Conference

Capgemini’s recent MyData membership coincides with the movement’s annual conference, which champions the benefits of a fair and prosperous digital society. This year, the conference takes place in Helsinki, Finland from the 21st to the 22nd of June. Aside from the allure of Nordic nature reserves and neoclassical architecture, the city will play host to the brightest minds in data sovereignty and collaborative ecosystems in the cyberspace.

Best of all, tickets are on sale until the 2nd of June. This is your chance to rub shoulders with Capgemini’s team and MyData’s community of experts.

1 The topic has been at the center of many of our recent publications, including Capgemini Research Institute’s report, Data Sharing Masters; the point of view on government open data, Data to the People; and an examination of the role of government as a trusted enabler of data sharing in the private sector, Building Data Bridges.