Everywhere you look, it seems some company is either spying on their users or failing to protect their users’ data. Protecting yourself might seem like a hopeless task, but we’ve been fighting for data rights and value with our app since 2018. Now it’s time to look at how the world has changed, and take the next steps into the future…

Where we are now: 

When we launched theTapmydata app, there wasn’t a lot to take inspiration from. Other privacy apps were complicated and hard to use, focused on shutting out platforms and building their own. Most of these didn’t last. 

We kept it simple, focusing on 2 goals: 

  1. Put consumer-grade tech, security and user experience to the task of opening up personal data silos 
  2. Help people take back control of their data by making it easy to find out who has it and ask for it back

At the start, we used the rights in GDPR which require companies to respond to data requests. People loved the tech because it’s simple, and since then we’ve helped 9,000 users make over 20,000 requests. 

We also pioneered the idea that requests can be tokenized as transactions on the blockchain, and it was cool to see merch we gave people for redeeming their stellar tokens appear on social media posts all over the world.

Our own ECR20 token launch and growth since December is part of the movement to now take the tools of crypto and use them to unlock that data’s value.  

Now we’re seeing a lot of new companies entering the privacy tech space: that’s great – it shows a wave of interest and a hot market for investment. 

Many of these newer apps and services focus on deleting your data from company records (Deleteme), or help automate the boring process of unsubscribing from email marketing lists (UnrollMe).

Another area for new apps has been ‘burner’ services: in the movies, spies use burner ‘phones to communicate, destroying them after use. Now you can do the same with email accounts – messages still reach your regular email inbox, but your replies seem to come from the burner address. 

The problem is, you still rely on the companies in question to do the legal and ethical thing. Some will just ignore requests and right now, neither Tapmydata nor anyone else can force any company to exclusively use our channel to respond, although it’s proven to be secure and private. So what’s next? 

What’s next – Community Action 

We know people don’t really want to delete the digital services they use or play at being spies – they’re all too busy! But they do want to know their data is safe, private and are treated properly as data customers: 

“We are now all Pro-Sumers – we don’t just consume, we produce data too” – Dame Wendy Hall 

Companies care when people get together and voice their opinions, good and bad, and smart companies like Apple, Samsung and Ikea are making customer happiness about data a key issue for their business. 

In the new series of updates for our app, we’ll focus our attention on companies and how well they treat people as data customers. This will highlight: 

  • Good and bad performance and ratings  
  • New and trending companies in our system 
  • New company view and landing pages with more detail
  • Enhanced, granular company search 
  • Community conversations – chat and market sentiment about a company 

A year ago, we integrated our app with the HaveIBeenPwned API as a quick way to check if your details have been compromised – and with the latest scandal from FatFace this remains a popular feature. 

Now the app will capture crowdsourced info from our community and add a whole new perspective on what it’s like to deal with a company as a customer – think Glassdoor, but for data… 

It’s never been our intention to bash companies who care about how they use data to connect, ethically, with their customers. But the old data model is so broken, most of them don’t know what kind of relationship they have – when did I buy, how did they get my details? Most of the time, it comes down to a plain old cookie banner they clicked. 

Because of this junk data, even with privacy-centric browsers like Brave, we still get ads shown to me for things we bought 2 weeks ago, not what I’m interested in now. It’s a rear-view mirror, and a badly cracked one at that. 

As an app user, we can build up a profile and evidence that says we are who we claim to be, our ID and details are verified, and a customer of company ‘X’. Down the line a little, companies can know what they are interested in buying now, and we can also let them know where their marketing data has ended up, and if it’s correct. 

Zero Trust Proof & NFTs – Where ID meets Art

Finally, the Tap eco-system will permit me as a verified user to mint identity into an NFT which represents my digital identity. This would consist of: 

  • A profile image (selfie) 
  • Description/bio – like a social profile 
  • Verified ID attributes like email, postal address, mobile, DOB

As well as being your passport to verified consent and value from your data, this NFT can be your unique showcase to the outside world and we plan to offer you controls for customisation. 

The updated functionality and interface will also take on the new elements we’re developing as part of the current brand refresh and we’re going to have some fun.

As our CTO shared in his recent blog post we’re going to be starting the build of our web-based Universal Data Income Platform in April. The app remains a key tool for our community and our mission is simple: “We want to up the engagement, and deliver better” 

You can help us; we value your feedback so far and the more of you download the app and provide ideas at this crucial stage. You can always do so easily by contacting us on Twitter or joining our Telegram.

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