Do you have any idea of what happens to your data when you mindlessly tick that consent box at the bottom of a webpage? Have you ever tried to find out what data a company has on you and how they use it? It’s far from straightforward! 

Rita Personal Data, a newly launched data management tool has just launched on the App and Google Play stores and your podcast host Annabel spoke to the two young founders, John Arts and Guglielmo Schenardi on The Wired Wig’s most recent episode. 

What problem is Rita looking to solve? 

John and Guglielmo first heard about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), during their business management studies at ESCP Europe, on a Digital Law course. Although this transformative piece of legislation brought many much-needed data protection rights to users, they noticed something crucial was missing. There was no practical empowerment of the user when it comes to owning and controlling their own data. Under the GDPR, users have a right to request the download of their data in an accessible format but in reality, this is often a very drawn out process consisting of multiple and difficult steps. This problem only became clearer to both founders as they both went on to complete various internships and really started to understand what happens to user’s data behind the curtains. One thing became crystal clear: there is real value in personal data. 

Rita’s mission is equally clear: to collect user’s data from multiple sources and foster understanding of it through simple visualization in order to ultimately make informed decisions over how to control it. 

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Rita clearly wants to place the data owner in the driver’s seat but what does giving users control back really mean? 

To the founders, control means having the freedom and choice over how your data is used. John says: 

“We don’t want to pick a lane and say no company should have access to your data. That’s not where the world is going towards in our opinion”.

Indeed, there is value in sharing and exchanging certain data with companies that you trust and want to interact with. But it’s about choosing yourself who those companies are and what specific data you would like each to have access to. Rita is an effortless tool that supports you in making said choices, for example by using their Restrict Companies features which helps you send out “right to be forgotten requests” to the relevant company departments. There are many more cool features that we highly recommend you try out!

How much is your data worth? 

Whenever you sign up to a service and provide your personal data as part of the process, you don’t think about being paid for that data. Given that many companies subsequently make money off of that data, perhaps you should! But, giving the right monetary value to data is extremely complex. It simply does not fit into the current economic model of supply and demand that relies on the distribution of scarce resources to allocate prices. And yet, increasingly loud talk of a data marketplace might change things in the future… 

Intrigued and want to know more? Annabel and her two guests discuss this issue in more detail in the podcast as well as leaving listeners with some food for thought about future data tracking trends. John and Guglielmo close the episode with some great advice for young entrepreneurs and a few interesting book recommendations that you don’t want to miss out on. Give the episode a listen now!