Data Privacy Day 2011 focused on, “a celebration of the dignity of the individual expressed through personal information.” The issue of online personal privacy is heating up and lawmakers are considering federal regulation of online tracking. While online tracking technologies are used to enable targeting and personalization of online ads, content, and services…often making a user’s online experience more relevant and/or convenient…there are also major concerns regarding user privacy. “In this networked world, in which we are thoroughly digitized, with our identities, locations, actions, purchases, associations, movements, and histories stored as so many bits and bytes, we have to ask – who is collecting all of this – what are they doing with it – with whom are they sharing it?”
Today’s model for personalization involves tracking, collecting, and exchanging data about YOU. While some of this data is generalized based on location, demographics, and behavior other components can include personally identifiable information or cohorts of semi-personal data. Where and how YOUR information is snagged, stored, shared and even sold is largely outside of your control. But we see a very different future of privacy taking hold, where you don’t have to retract from the online world to maintain your privacy or alter your behavior to avoid intrusive tracking.
Imagine if YOUR information was transformed into a truly private and portable persona – and put YOU in charge.
This future of personalization will enable a new wave of innovation for online experiences and services without requiring federal regulation, that many fear will stifle growth and commerce. You could receive personalized content and experiences based on your preferences, without ANY specific components actually being revealed to an outside party. With privacy based approaches to user data, trusted applications acting as a “concierge” will host an understanding of you, derived from your persona, which will bring together: preferences, behavior, social graph, location info, your roles/intents, and much more.
For example, a user might want Hertz and the Marriott to get access to their identity, location, and preferences when planning a trip, but not when they are browsing the news or going to the park with their kids. Or they may want Facebook friends to be able to get their music preferences so they can be invited to concerts of their favorite artist. The “concierge” will act on your behalf without revealing the contents of your persona. It WILL enable 3rd party applications to facilitate an understanding of what ad, offer, or item of content may be most relevant, but NEVER specifically why.
The technology allows a unique approach to privacy; to assess a particular piece of content, the attributes within the persona do not need to be shared with the content provider. The content description and any semantic metadata are simply indexed with xPatterns and under the permission and control of the owner, only a “score” of the content affinity to the persona is presented to enabled content providers. In Atigeo’s version of the persona, the contents are expressed in unstructured form as lists of lists of concepts in combination with semantically-expressed spatial, temporal, and behavioral context. When this data is applied to xPatterns indexes of content semantically appropriate actions, items, and offers can be presented to the user at a meaningful time by the content provider.
This model requires a rich understanding of the relationships between different themes and concepts that can in part be learned from the actions that people take. However, equally important is the learning derived from how things are described and talked about relative to one another (which really conveys what something means). With the use of hierarchy-free ontologies, Atigeo’s xPatterns enables systems, in real time, to determine semantic relationships between concepts – simply from reading and reviewing large bodies of unstructured text information about the domain.