DataDonor allows individuals to donate personal data (from e.g. Facebook, Runkeeper, 23andMe) to qualified non-profit and academic research groups.
2. How will your project make data more useful? [50 words]
As Tim O’Reilly once put it: “The guy with the most data wins”. As Bryce Roberts interpreted this: “Web 2.0 ends with data monopolies”. DataDonor allows individuals to unlock their personal data — not for the purpose of storing it in a “data locker” — but to apply this asset to the advancement of the common good (i.e. by donating it to social, medical and journalistic research).
3. How is your project different from what already exists? [30 words]
DataDonor is the first project of its kind to promote personal data as a form of charitable contribution.
4. Why will it work? [100 words]
In their report to the World Economic Forum — Personal Data: The Emergence of a New Asset Class — John Clippinger et al. discuss the explosion of personal data in 21st century. This report, along with increasing media attention, indicate a growing awareness around a formerly esoteric issue. Data advocacy is at an inflection point. More concretely: researchers will submit their projects to DataDonor to gain access to previously inaccessible information; individuals will donate data for the same reason that they make charitable contributions or sign up to be organ donors: to support the causes that they care about. DataDonor is in talks with UCSF and the Harvard Medical School about the possibility of a pilot project.
5. Who is working on it? [100 words]
Joel Mahoney is an engineer and serial entrepreneur with 10 years’ experience designing and developing web applications. He was a 2011 Fellow at Code for America. He is currently the Interim Tech Strategist & Evangelist at Code for America.
6. What part of the project have you already built? [100 words]
The DataDonor prototype uses OAuth authentication to connect to a range of popular web services. Once a connection is established, data can be continuously accessed by DataDonor and distributed to projects matching a donor’s stored preferences (e.g. Medical > Cancer Research). DataDonor is in talks with Singly.com about the possibility of leveraging Singly’s advanced storage and retrieval technologies as the basis for the DataDonor platform.
7. How would you use News Challenge funds? [50 words]
DataDonor will use News Challenge funds to procure design services, and to pursue partnerships and pilot projects.
8. How would you sustain the project after the funding expires? [50 words]
DataDonor expects continued support from the web community (one can imagine the DataDonor badge becoming a seal of approval); it will also use a freemium model to sell advanced visualization and analytics tools to researchers.