Microsoft Project Bali Could Give You More Control Over Personal Data

Project Bali might sound like a way to do some holiday planning while you’re in the office but it’s also the codename Microsoft has given to an initiative designed to give us back control of personal data that’s collected about us but that we typically don’t get a lot of control over.

Microsoft Research is working on Project Bali which is all about giving you control over data that is “inversely private”. Lots of data about us is collected by third parties. For example, there’s the medical history collected by healthcare professionals, data about where we go collected by public transport and toll-road operators, or shopping habits through store loyalty programs. All that data is closely held by the system operators but not easily available to us. Project Bali seeks to invert that inversion.

Project Bali proposes the creation of a personal data bank that gives you control of all data that is collected about you. The bank will enable you to store all data (raw and inferred) and allow the user to visualise, manage, control, share and, potentially, monetise the data. Instead of third parties making many from your data, you could end up cashing in the data you choose to share.

The concept of “Inverse Privacy” was the subject of a paper authored by three former Microsoft Research remployees – Yuri Gurevich, Efim Hudis and Jeannette Wing – back in 2014.

The project is stil in private beta and you’ll need a code to access the project.

There appears to have been a website for Project Bali but it appears to be down at the moment. If you’re interested, perhaps check back later.


Leave a Reply