The Future of Personal Digital Information – Scarce Resource, Valuable Commodity or an Efficient Utility? 2009

I presented a short paper titled “The Future of Personal Digital Information – Scarce Resource, Valuable Commodity or an Efficient Utility?” in OPEN 2009 – Media Lab Doctor of Arts Symposium, (Media Lab, University of Art and Design Helsinki, November 5.–6.).


Contemporary practices—regarding the use of personal information in digital networked environments—have been strongly affected by economic interests and business-orientated thinking. The methods and applications of data processing have been broadly defined and adaptively adhered to by the preeminent actors in the industry. Although we have witnessed a growing interest towards personal information on behalf of the users themselves, the majority of people are not aware of the policies and practices concerning the varying uses of their personal public and private information. In essence, the exact uses of personal data remain ambiguous to the very people that generate, create and modify these data. The obsolete conceptions of ownership of information and strictly guarded economic interests restrict the creative uses of personal data for the benefit of an individual and her environment. In this paper, I briefly analyze some substantial factors affecting the current situation and provide some insights on the possible futures of the use of personal information in online environments. I will argue that actively increasing awareness about the characteristics and qualities of personal information will facilitate the creation of processes and products that will allow and enable people themselves to observe and control the use of their personal digital information more efficiently.

Download the paper (pdf)

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