On owning your own data

Owning your own data is like owning your own home. Unfortunately, we live in a world where the norm is renting your home from companies that are allowed to snoop on you and profile you. In fact, the only way to own your own home today is if you’re technically savvy enough to build, maintain, and secure it yourself. This needs to change and Prometheus aims to change it.

Imagine a world where you are not allowed to own your own home. Where ‘choice’ simply means choosing which company you rent from. Your rent is cheap, maybe even free, however, when you do rent, your landlord is allowed to snoop on everything that you do because that is how they make their money.

As you live in your rented property, your landlord watches everything you do and forms a psychological profile of you. They know who you are, what you like, what you don’t like, who your friends are, where you went last Tuesday and with whom, etc. They then sell this information to their real customers, who use that information to try and sell you things. In other words, you are not their customer, you are the product being sold.

Sometimes, the government also comes calling and they also give them your information. They are not even allowed to tell you when that happens, even if they wanted to.

The problem, of course, is this wretched business model that has your landlord snooping on you and keeping all that information in the first place. If they didn’t have that information — or if that information was encrypted in a manner that only you could access it — they couldn’t share your information even if they wanted to.

Imagine, furthermore, that you’re told that this state of affairs is the only option available to you because there are no other alternatives. No one will sell you a home. A home where no one will snoop on you. A home where you can share only what you want to share by putting it on display and inviting only those people you select inside.

Of course, you have heard rumours that some very technically savvy people have started building their own homes. These homes are private and secure. But you have no idea how to build your own home. Heck, you wouldn’t even know where to start. And plus, who has the time to anyway?

So that world I asked you imagine? We are living in it today.

Google, Facebook, etc., are the landlords who rent you your home for free or for a reduced fee in exchange for the right to snoop on you. You store your stuff on their services. Google even sells you cheap hardware and free software to make it easy for you to use their services. And, unless you are an über geek who can set up their own server and install, configure, and run open source software, you have no other alternatives.

Prometheus is the alternative.

Now, imagine a different world where you own your own home and all the things inside of it: your photos, videos, your contacts, etc. It’s all yours. Just like in your own home, you choose what you make public and what stays private. Prometheus aims to empower you by giving you the ability to own your own home even if you don’t know how to build it from scratch or maintain it or keep it secure.

If you do know what you’re doing, we can give you all the plans and materials so you can build it anywhere you like. Or, if you don’t want to bother with all that, we will happily build it for you, connect it to the roads and water and electricity, maintain it and keep it secure. And, any time you want to move it somewhere else, you can.

With Prometheus, your home is your home. We simply take care of it for you if you want us to.

We work for you. You are our customer.

We’re just getting started.

Stay tuned.

What next?

Learn more about Prometheus and sign up for updates, on the Prometheus web site and follow us on Twitter.

To find out more about the problem that Prometheus will solve, watch the Terms and Conditions May Apply Trailer and look for — or organise — screenings in your own town.

Note: I will be holding screenings in Brighton in the UK during the Brighton Digital Festival (dates to be announced soon) as well as in October and November.