PRINCETON, NEW JERSEY AND ARMONK, NY – September 6, 2018 – Hu-manity.co today announced it will use IBM’s (NYSE: IBM) Blockchain Platform as the foundational technology for its global consent ledger to help enable individuals to claim property rights to their personal data.
Hu-manity.co will allow people to control and manage consent, authorisation and commercial use of their personal information via a permissioned blockchain-based data marketplace supporting millions of users.
Against a backdrop of growing concern around the misuse of personal information, human data — which includes healthcare records, geospatial location and media usage metrics — continues to grow exponentially. The human data marketplace is worth an estimated $150-200 billion annually*, but organisations do not have a global and scalable way to buy, use or sell this valuable information.
With a focus on data transparency, Hu-manity.co will use a blockchain network to put users at the center of the data economy and in control of managing and permissioning their own personal information. Through features like immutability and decentralisation, blockchain makes it possible for organisations and individuals to interact in a more transparent manner. Coupled with technologies such as AI and advanced data encryption, blockchain is an ideal foundation for this global consent ledger.
Available starting today on Android devices in the United States, consumers can claim their human data rights via Hu-manity.co’s #My31 iPhone and Android app built on IBM Blockchain. An iPhone version of the app will be announced shortly. Upon claiming their data property rights, users receive a title of ownership, akin to a property deed. The 30 Human Rights ratified by the United Nations do not explicitly address human data rights, so the app is dubbed #My31 as an allusion to the “31st human right” – that everyone has the legal right to ownership of their inherent human data as property. The app provides people the ability to designate how their data can be shared, with whom, and under which circumstances, starting with healthcare data. Personal or medical data is not stored by Hu-manity.co; the data will remain wherever it currently is stored such as in a hospital electronic medical records system or by a research organisation. However, the #My31 app will record a user’s property ownership as well as their data-sharing preferences.
For example, users can choose to share no information with third parties, or they may want to provide consent for use of their medical data for cancer research only. Users can also choose to lease their data to pharmaceutical companies or data aggregators but only upon receiving fair market compensation.
“IBM has long been focused on providing data stewardship which supports our belief that your data is your data,” said Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice president, IBM Global Industries, Platforms and Blockchain. “With new digital business models driving data sharing to unprecedented levels, we believe that blockchain can serve as a key ingredient to enhance trust and responsibility with regard to data. Our work with Hu-manity.co is a pioneering example of how permissioned blockchain can help balance individual rights with distributed data access at scale.”
Individuals today lack the means to effectively control how their data is used by corporations and whether they receive compensation or alternative value when their personal data is commercialised. “By creating a global consent ledger built on the IBM Blockchain Platform, people, corporations, and the monetisation of human data can co-exist sustainably,” said Richie Etwaru, Founder and CEO at Hu-manity.co. “People will enjoy greater levels of security, privacy, and control while corporations will be able to lawfully benefit from access to higher quality data that has the explicit consent and authorisation of its rightful owner.”
The research value and insight from a patient record greatly increases when the patient consents explicitly to sharing it. “Explicitly consented records coupled with authorisation of use is of tremendous value to the healthcare industry,” said R. “Ray” Wang, MPH, CEO at Constellation Research, Inc., and Hu-manity.co Advisory Board member. “It is not only ethically sound, it also accelerates key healthcare breakthroughs as we welcome this era of fair-trade data.”
Hu-manity.co will also collaborate with IBM to participate in the Sovrin Foundation and a pilot to help members of the Hu-manity ecosystem participate in the global Sovrin self-sovereign identity network. Sovrin and Hu-manity have a shared vision of creating a global standard network for identity that enables citizens to control all use of their personal information.
Hu-manity.co’s #My31 consumer app is available today on Android and will be available soon for iOS on Apple’s App Store. The enterprise solution for businesses who want to work with Hu-manity will be available to corporations starting in the healthcare industry in the first quarter of 2019. The Hu-manity.co global consent ledger is built on the IBM Blockchain Platform, powered by the Hyperledger Fabric and secured on the IBM Cloud.
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