Coming across the TACT model for midata

A few weeks back, I went to the Midata hackday hosted at the ODI - my first hackday in a good few months.

As you might have gained from the title, the focus of the hackday was midata, a term commonly used to describe the shift of stewardship over personal data from other organisations, to the individual whom the data is about, where they have control over how it is used, or whom it is shared with.

The implications of this aren't always easy to grasp when you first hear about midata, so after trying to explain this to friends and family a few times, I've settled on asking this question of people to help explain why ownership and control of your data is important:

How might you change your behaviour if you had access to the same kind of insight about your shopping patterns, and diet as Tesco or Visa have?

While this tends to work as a trigger for thought, once you're thinking about the subject, it helps to have a model to help guide these these thoughts.

The TACT model

It's at this point that it's worth mentioning the TACT model, which William Heath of MyDex and the Open Rights Group introduced to me at the Open Knowledge Festival in Helsinki.

I've found it a quite useful tool, because it gives four distinct areas to look at when thinking about your interactions with third parties that hold data about you.

  • T for Transparency - I know and understand what data an organisation holds about me and what this data is used for
  • A for Access - it's easy for me to see the details of this data
  • C for Control - it's easy for me to set and change permissions, update and correct relevant fields etc
  • T for Transfer - the actual release of this data (initially, transaction/consumption) data back to them in a portable electronic form is possible.

As you'd expect when we apply TACT to Tesco, we see a long route ahead of us of course, but it's early days yet, and there's increasing interest in this area. Which is a definitely the subject for another blog post.

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