MyDataCan™ offers you affiliated apps to live a better life and puts you in control of your information.

When you use regular apps or web-based services, companies collect information about you and share your information with other companies and organizations, and those companies and organizations in turn, may share your information further. You can’t know who knows what about you. (For example, see https://thedatamap.org as an example of all the places a person's health information can go.)

MyDataCan™ is a different data sharing paradigm. Apps and web-based services that are affiliated with MyDataCan™ put you in the center of data sharing. Apps and services affiliated with MyDataCan™ put a copy of your information in your own private storage on MyDataCan™. You can then view your information, delete it, or share it with other apps or services. You can also “privatize” your information on MyDataCan™. The privatized option allows you to encrypt your information with a passphrase that you know but that is not stored on the MyDataCan™ platform. Privatized information is unreadable on the platform. You can reverse the process using your same privately held passphrase to make the information visible on the platform again.
how it works
MyDataCan is organized by communities. Sign up for your community at mydatacan.org and establish your personal account. Select an app or service on MyDataCan and then download it from Apple iTunes or Google Play Store as normal, if needed. It’s that simple. During the time you use an affiliated MyDataCan app or service, the app will store your personal information in your private storage on MyDataCan. The stored information is your personal copy, under your control, to use as you want. You can download it, delete it or even share it with other apps or privatize to make it unreadable on the platform. The data remains there as long as you want or this edition of MyDataCan is available.
frequently asked questions
How long will MyDataCan retain information?

Information stored in a person’s data can is under the control of the person. The information will remain in a person’s data can until they delete it, their account is terminated, a machine failure occurs or the platform closes. 

Who is able to access my information on MyDataCan?

A person has complete access to their own data, as available in their personal data can. They may share their information with apps affiliated with MyDataCan. If so, MyDataCan describes the kind of data each app requires for use. A person does not have to share any information.

What kind of personal information can I store on MyDataCan?

MyDataCan has affiliated apps that store different kinds of personal information into your personal storage on MyDataCan. For example, some apps share location information, like GPS coordinates. You decide whether you want to use the app or what you do with the data that it is provides to your private storage. You can view the information, delete it, use it, or privatize it (make it unreadable on the platform).

Is my information secure on MyDataCan?

Yes. Information storage and handling on MyDataCan complies with the requirements for “Level 4 data security” under the Harvard University Information Policy.

What do you know about real-world data sharing?

Our team documented flows of personal information in earlier work and found lots of hidden data sharing. You can see examples of personal data flows in health and on mobile apps at http://thedatamap.org. This earlier work inspired MyDataCan.

What kinds of apps and web services are on MyDataCan?

MyDataCan supports a variety of different kinds of apps and web services. These differ based on the nature of data sharing involved with MyDataCan users. Here are the types:
  1. Standard. Most apps web services share information with the user's personal storage on MyDataCan These apps provide a copy of the person's information generated or collected by the app into the user's personal storage and these apps can receive previously stored information from the user's personal storage to help the user. MyDataCan enumerates the kind of data each app copies to and from personal storage so a user can know beforehand whether they want to use the app.
  2. Subscription. These are apps that compute information across personal storage cans. Individual MyDataCan users can opt-in by subscribing to participate. The joint computation across personal storage cans is done by MyDataCan internally, on the MyDataCan side of the security firewall, and the computed results are provided to the app.
  3. Tools. These are apps or web services that work with a person's personal information and makes the results only available to the person. The app or web service itself does not maintain a copy of any of the person's information. Depending on the tool, the computation and visualization, if provided, may be done on MyDataCan's side of the firewall or externally at a site maintained by the app or web service. MyDataCan reports where the computation occurs so a user can know beforehand whether they want to use the app.
How do apps get affiliated with MyDataCan?

An App developer must apply to the MyDataCan Governance Committee to have an app actually operate on MyDataCan with real users. Apps are not allowed to further share user data. An app may only have permission for specific data sharing operations on MyDataCan. No approved app is granted permission to all data sharing operations. Permission decisions are narrow and specific to the service that the app provides to MyDataCan users. The MyDataCan App Center lists all approved apps and the permissions granted to each app. A MyDataCan user can elect to use or not use any app on the Platform.

How does MyDataCan combat COVID?

MyDataCan prioritizes apps that store location and symptom information into a person's private storage on MyDataCan and MyDataCan prioritizes communities that have human contact tracers that operate under local or state authority. MyDataCan provides a special contact tracing option, that if you decide to select it, allows the last 14 days of your location data and symptom information to be shared with your community human contact tracer, accessed only on a need to know basis, relevant to a specific known positive case of COVID-19. All accessed to your data by a human contact tracer are logged and stored in your private storage on MyDataCan. During an interview with the person who tested positive, the human contact tracer will determine whether you may have been infected and need to take precautions. If so, your community human contact tracer will notify you, and you can specify the best means for communication with a human contact tracer. You can stop making your data available to contact tracing at anytime by deselecting the contact tracing option. Participation in contact tracing is optional and anyone can use any of the apps or services on MyDataCan without deciding to share their information with contact tracers.

Why does having a personal copy of my data under my control make a big difference to today's data sharing?

The MyDataCan team believes that over time, the copy of personal information under the control of the individual will be more comprehensive and correct than ad hoc information acquired about the person from other sources. Eventually, the majority of those seeking data on the individual will ask for the person's permission to access part of the person's information from their private storage.

Why is there an emphasis on location data?

MyDataCan will expand to include many forms of personal information. In light of COVID-19 and the need for effective contact tracing, MyDataCan provides a priority to apps and services that share location with the person. If the person then decides to share that information, on a just-in-time, need-to-know basis with human contact tracers, only the latest information forward to determine whether the person is at risk of infection or may have infected others.