Frequently Unanswered Questions

The Basics

What exactly is personal data?

Personal data is personal. It refers to data sets describing a person ranging from physical attributes to their preferences and behaviour. Examples of personal data include: location, genome data, written communication, spoken communication, lists of contacts, internet browsing habits, financial transactions, supermarket spending, tax payments, criminal record, laptop and mobile phone camera lens recording, device microphone recordings, driving habits via car trackers, mobile and health records, fitness activity, nutrition, substance use, heartbeat, sleep patterns and other vital signs.

What is GDPR?

GDPR stands for the General Data Protection Regulation which applies to the entire European Union. The GDPR describes the obligations that organisations have when handling the data about Europeans as well as the rights of Europeans in relation to data.

What does Own do?

Own facilitates the data relationship between individuals and organisations. How? Own makes it easy for individuals to request their data rights from companies or file complaints to supervisory authorities by simply completing a form. Own minimises the paperwork and does the bureaucracy for you so that you don’t need to deal with the likes of customer service. Own also helps companies by giving free advice about how to comply to GDPR. There is also a premium service called FairData that provides personalised advice about why their clients don’t give their permission and what your company can do to get Clients to give their permission.

Does the legal entity behind Own own my data?

No. You own your data.

Why doesn’t Own have social media?

At Own, we do not want our users to be identified and you can be identified on social media. Own security is based on hiding your personal identity in a large group of people. Clues on social media could make it easy to reveal who is probably using Own.

Why do we need Own when we already have laws for privacy?

It is only possible to enforce the privacy laws when the practical tools are available to do so. Own offers these practical tools.

Can people working at Own see my personal data?

No. people working at Own do not access your personal data when you make a request. When you submit a form people working at Own see the information you provided by filing that form out. Own sends the request or files a complaint on your behalf and if the organisations responds to Own, Own sees that email.

When I use Own, where is the data stored?

Own uses an email provider called TransIP which is legally based in the Netherlands. The databases are in the EU and therefore need to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation.

Do other people and organisations (not Own) have a copy of my data?

Yes. Today other people and organisations have a copy of your data, but you may not. And, just because you have a copy of your data doesn’t necessarily mean that others won’t also have a copy.

Can I make sure other people and organisations (not Own) do not have a copy of my data?

In Europe there is a law called the Right to be Forgotten which makes it possible for European citizens to ask for their data to be deleted. Own can facilitate the process of asking for your data to be deleted by other people and organisations by using this law.

Is Own for profit or not-for-profit?

Own Institute is a not-for-profit foundation registered in Amsterdam with registration number 62697099.

What’s the Own business model?

Own charges companies for premium FairData audits which is used to finance the processing of digital rights requests and filing complaints for individuals.

What are the long term ambitions of Own?

Own is dedicated to facilitating the data relationship between individuals and organisations so as to extract the value of data without compromising privacy. In the long term Own hopes to provide the tools for personal data trading. You can read more about personal data trading in the white paper here: (insert the pdf white paper)

If everybody used Own would I lose my favorite Internet services?

No. Search engines and communication tools do not need to track you to work.

Is it wise to trust people to make ethical decisions on such a complicated issue?

At Own we believe that people should have the last word over their personal data. There is a lot of variation in what people feel to be right and wrong, and ultimately it is down to you to decide what to do with your data. Own does try to help you make informed choices by providing relevant information and by constantly validating the accuracy of that information.

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