Bali, a Microsoft Research incubation project that seemingly was in private testing as of January, is a “new personal data bank which puts users in control of all data collected about them.” The idea is to give usrs a way to store, visualize, manage, control, share and monetize the data, according to the “About” page for the project, which Microsoft has since hidden. This week, The New York Times ran an interactive feature about Jaron Lanier that is focused on data privacy. Lanier is a virtual-reality pioneer and a chief scientist at Microsoft.
Microsoft is staffing up a new ‘Data Dignity’ team in the Office of the Chief Technology Officer. The team is researching ways to give users more control of their personal data, possibly even one day enabling them to buy and sell it to third-party entities. From a report: Microsoft has run afoul of privacy mavens, especially as a result of its collection of data in the name of telemetry with Windows 10, and more recently, for using human contractors to transcribe Skype conversations. An initiative like Data Dignity could further the company’s quest to make itself look like a champion of users’ privacy (at least in theory). I knew Microsoft had been investigating ways to give users more control of their own data after I unearthed some information about the company’s “Project Bali” earlier this year.