This is a slightly different take on a distributed personal operating system, instead proposing that systems and services like Facebook and Google should provide each individual with access to all their personal data via an API. This is argued a much better way of dealing with personal data than say cut-down services like Google Takeout which limits the actual data they will give you. Ali Jelveh gives a great example - his Google Take out when you skip email data was 500kb - the same as an animated gif.
A Personal Data API brings massive potential for data control. Opening up the floodgates to your personal (meta)data to be completely available to you, to review and optimize it, or to have a data agent or a data lawyer, or whatever term will be correct, would give new possibilities for individuals. All these data streams would end up with you. It means that a whole range of possibilities are available to you in terms of what you want to do with your data asset. But for that to happen, you have to have access. And it has to practical access, meaning machine readable and in real-time.
While I agree with Ali on many points I don’t think the only solution is to work in and with the current paradigm. What if instead we built a new one - not in opposition of whats here, but one that is modelled on a very different way of operating? One that places value on the sovereigty of personal not simply on access to it?
Source: The Personal Data API
Image: 200 pair telephone cable model of corpus callosum by J Brew