Companies have huge amounts of data about who you are. But most of them do not let you know what they know. Microsoft is working on a project to increase transparency.
First tweeted by Longhorn Microsoft is at an early stage of the Bali project to enable you to better control your data. Longhorn was even kind enough to make a screenshot of a picture of Bali .
As Mary Jo Foley reports, Bali wants to follow the concept of inverted privacy. Initially, it was proposed by Microsoft Research. The underlying problem is a problem we all know: companies contain a large amount of granular data about individuals, but these individuals rarely, if ever, have control or even knowledge of the content of that data. 19659002] A good example is grocery stores. Many grocery stores offer reward cards that track purchases. Through these purchases, the grocery store becomes familiar with likes, dislikes, habits and preferences. Enough to determine the likelihood of buying a recently published article and send the perfect coupon. But few (if any) grocery stores give customers full access to this buying history and the data derived from it. There is no reason why they could not. You decide against it.
With Bali, Microsoft is trying to give its users better access to the data Microsoft stores. According to the info page, users:
… can store all data generated by them (raw data and derived data). The user can visualize, manage, control, share and monetize the data.
Bali describes itself as a personal database. This not only means more security, but also more interaction. You're in the bank, you take the bank.
The project is in an early private beta phase. Most links lead to Microsoft pages that do not explicitly mention Bali and its intentions. It is possible that Bali may never leave the beta phase. However, it's a good start to see how Microsoft tries to give users more transparent control over their data. Hopefully other companies can follow suit.
about Mary Jo Foley / ZDNet