In the wake of all the controversy surrounding Facebook and its use of user data, Microsoft is working on a new project that will supposedly help users gain back control over their data. The new project, codenamed Bali, is what Microsoft is calling a personal data bank.
The idea behind the project is based on the concept of Inverse Privacy, first published by Microsoft researchers in 2014. The paper essentially states that your personal data is inversely private if a third-party has access and you, the original owner of the data, do not.
Project Bali wants to change that, by first letting you aggregate your personal data from various websites at the initial stage. The project will allow users to fetch the data from a range of websites, though it’s not clear exactly which websites are supported at the moment, and store them within the data bank that is Project Bali. Users will also be able to view the data.
In the future, though, Microsoft wants to give users more control over their data — so you will be able to control your personal data, share it, and even monetize it. The last part is quite a surprise, and it would be interesting to see exactly how Microsoft plans on letting users earn money by monetizing their personal data, especially considering all the controversy surrounding companies using people’s data to make money from advertising.
ZDNet reported that Project Bali currently requires an access code to work, and Microsoft is yet to officially announce the project. A Twitter user, who first spotted the new project, stated that the project can “delete all your connections and account information”.
Project Bali is is available as a private beta, and it’s likely Microsoft will take its time to make things official as privacy is a highly sensitive matter at the moment. We will make sure to let you know once things do become public, however.