At Ethi, we want to put individuals in control of their personal data, and help them use that data to transform their lives and the world.
Tech companies spend billions collecting and analysing your data, and then just use it to sell advertising. They’re not in any hurry to let you understand what is happening with your own data or use it to improve your life. They assume your data is an asset of theirs, to be used to make profits and otherwise locked away. We disagree.
Data should empower users to learn more about themselves, engage in meaningful discussions with friends and family, and drive positive change in their communities.
When you can control your data, it becomes a tool for action, rather than a passive record of the past.
The future needs a suite of tools providing concrete, hands-on benefits to individuals. These tools will help people make real changes in their lives by solving real problems using personal data.
We're building two tools to help people control their data: the Ethi Platform and EthiX, and we're also partnering with the cybersecurity startup TurgenSec to build a cybersecurity tool on top of our platform.
There are a few key interactions we’re looking at. The core goal is to help people answer the questions “What do I want to do?” and “What do I want to know?“.
We want to help people keep their data within their control, help people learn from their own data, and help people use their data.
Right now, data is collected and stored without any context or explanation. To help people understand their data, we have to figure out a way to connect the dots and teach people about themselves.
There are a handful of startups, but they tend to be focused on monetising the data, or just managing privacy settings. None are focused on building a product to compete head to head with what Google, Facebook, and other consumer web giants are doing in a privacy focused way.
These services are managing data, and not helping people understand it, control it, or use it! We're building great technology, but our focus is entirely on the user experience. We want users to get real, tangible benefits from their data.
We want to give you an active toolkit, not just a dump truck for your data.
We believe it’s possible to build services that compete on user trust and ownership, while enabling people to use data to their advantage.
We’re in a fight for the future of the internet, to ensure it remains a decentralised, user-centric space rather than being dominated by the corporations that can hoover up the most data. We want it to be a place where anyone can have their voice heard, and where users have the power.
Today, data gets used by algorithms to infer whether you're part of underrepresented groups, and treat you differently based on that. Giving users control of their data will help mitigate the impacts of algorithmic bias, as users will be able to choose what they share.
We want to move the tech industry from being “product-centric” to “human-centric”. We're hoping the next decade will be the decade of human centred technology.
We believe that it’s possible to build systems that focus on users rather than on advertisers. People want a direct, transparent relationship with the services they use, rather than one that’s indirect, opaque, or exploitative.
On a global scale, we’re seeing a backlash against the use of personal data to profile and discriminate. In Europe, privacy laws are tightening and companies are being held to account for the abuses of their users. We think we will see similar legal challenges in the US in the years to come.
Also, the role of large technology companies is being seriously re-examined. All these "free" services were never really free at all, they came at the cost of our privacy, our autonomy, and our attention.
Our strategy is to compete on the basis of trust and respect, not through aggressive retention tactics. We aim to deliver value, and help our users understand their data and what they can do with it.
To this end, we have several key strategic initiatives:
1. Help users use their data to achieve their goals
We will empower people to take action with their data, whether that’s on their work, home, or social lives. In every case, we will make sure the user is taking control of their data, and not handing it over to be processed.
2. Build user trust
User data should be treated with the same level of trust and respect as a doctor treats a patient, or a lawyer treats a client. That is what we want to embody. We will do everything we can to keep user data secure and private, and to ensure the privacy of the user is respected.
3. Keep all user data inside the platform
We will encrypt all user data, and work towards a Zero Trust architecture. We will not look at, or process, any user data outside of the application. All user data will remain on the platform where the user can control it.
4. Deliver value
The value users get from the platform will come from understanding and taking action with their data. We will ensure that we are truly delivering value in each of these areas.
In addition to these four pillars, we will be continue to evolve and build out amazing features, that make the most of user's data. We want using Ethi products to feel like you have superpowers.
We see individuals using Ethi to own the go-to source for their user-centric personal data. Ethi will provide users a single platform for all kinds of data, in a variety of formats. The goal is to give users the freedom to control their data and to use it for themselves.
If people feel like they have control over their data, it will empower them to make better decisions about themselves and the world around them.
They will be able to support causes that are important to them, take action on political, social, and environmental issues that they care about, and pursue careers and lives that align with their personal interests.
People will finally be able to use their data in a meaningful way. Our ultimate goal is to make personal data fully user-centric, allowing the user to bring their data with them and use it wherever they are in the physical and digital world, always staying in control.
Support us. Our dream is to put people in control of their personal data. Join us and help us build the first personal data platform. We have a handful of projects that are either in the early stages of design or just being prototyped. If you’re interested in helping out, here are some ways you can get involved:
We’re worried about the world and how the balance of power has shifted away from the individual to the algorithm. We’re proud to be involved in a project that we think can help shift things back towards a more equitable state. We hope you'll be proud too!
We’re dedicated to helping people get involved, and contributing. If you’re involved with a cool project that’s open-source, open data, open science, or otherwise in the spirit of openness and empowerment, please get in touch. We want to help.
We also have a semi-regular newsletter (we haven’t been sending them much lately, sorry!). If you’d like to be on it, please get in touch, we love to hear from you (or sign up on the homepage).
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