LONDON: GDPR, which comes into force this May, is both the result of and catalyst for an important shift in consumers’ thinking about personal data. The norm is shifting from organisation-centric data management to a more personal approach in which individuals are in control, an industry figure argues.

“For decades, when it came to personal data there was an 'anything goes' approach amongst many of those operating in data broking, advertising and other industries”, writes Alan Mitchell, co-founder of Mydex and Ctrl-Shift, respectively personal data management and consultancy firms based in London. (For more, read WARC’s exclusive: Personal data: a changing dynamic).

“Historically, our data infrastructure and architecture evolved to be organisation-centric. Individuals weren't expected to collect and use their data for their own purposes.” In part, this was down to the expense of gathering and processing data, however, over the last few decades, “the costs of collecting, storing and sharing data have fallen over a million fold”.

With GDPR about to come into force, attitudes to personal data management are shifting and new industries are emerging. According to Ctrl-Shift “the potential market for Personal Information Management Services (PIMS) in the UK is in excess of £16bn”, Mitchell writes.

Indeed, the European Data Protection Supervisor suggested that PIMS could “create a paradigm shift in personal data management and processing.”

For consumers this carries a number of extra benefits, notably enhanced control, greater privacy, and a useful guard against hackers, disincentivised from breaking into millions of tiny databases. For brands, Mitchell suggests, a people-centric system will bring greater efficiency, as the same data can be collected once and used many times.

“By providing individuals with the means to gather, store and use their own data under their own control, a new and different data infrastructure makes all sorts of innovation possible”, Mitchell says. Rather than juggling multiple accounts, information-tasks have the potential to be streamlined through one secure account.

Within this emerging industry, a number of models are competing for dominance. New York-based Datacoup, gathers data from various services such as Google and Facebook and helps consumers to sell their data.

Others, such as, offer individuals rewards for opening themselves up to advertisers targeting the profiles. Finally, platforms like helps individuals build up personal data stores (like a data ‘vault’).

So what can advertisers do? Mitchell suggests experimenting: though the PIM model hasn’t yet scaled far enough to become the norm, it has the potential to blindside marketers and leave them playing catch-up.

Sourced from WARC