The Digital Person: A Symposium

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Physical and digital personas are becoming inseparable, as physical actions are increasingly inferred through information available in Cyberspace. This suggests an urgent need to discuss the concept of ‘the digital person’ as it emerges from rich data on the Internet.

With this in mind, the HAT Community Foundation is bringing together a multidisciplinary group of thought leaders to create  an illuminating dialogue between research, policy and practice. The plan is to consider this topic from three perspectives:

  1. Digital personhood, law, freedom and democracy;
  2. Value, economics and markets; and
  3. Data analytics, data science and technology.

Together with Wolfson College Cambridge, it is organising the Wolfson-HAT Annual Symposium on the Digital Person on May 31 at the Lee Hall, Wolfson College Cambridge from 9.30am – 5.30pm. The symposium will be chaired by three eminent professors in the field; Professors John Naughton, Jon Crowcroft and Irene Ng.


Find out more and register for your free place.









Wolfson-HAT Annual Symposium on the Digital Person

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Wolfson-HAT Annual Symposium on the Digital Person


What’s personal data? It’s almost anything on the Internet that could be linked to an individual – not just email, addresses or credit card information, but also photographs, social media posts, documents (see what the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office determines as ‘personal data’). Personal data is currently one of the most talked-about subjects in both academia and practice when discussing the digital economy and the Internet. There are however many facets of personal data that need more robust discussion, particularly those concerning privacy and security.

With this in mind, the HAT Community Foundation has teamed up with Wolfson College Cambridge to host the Wolfson-HAT Annual Symposium on the Digital Person. The event, a series of four panel discussions held over four weeks in March and April 2017, will explore critical issues around the uses (and abuses) of our personal data, as well as the wider questions of the Digital Person, freedom, identity, security and innovation.

With broad-ranging appeal, the series is designed to interest practitioners and policy makers, as well as academics in the sciences, humanities and social sciences with discussions relating to law, computer science, history, sociology, entrepreneurship, business, economics and the global society.

The Wolfson-HAT Annual Symposium on the Digital Person will be held in Lee Hall at Wolfson College, Cambridge on the following Wednesdays:

Week 1: 15 March 2017, 5.30pm – Personal data: digital personhood

Covering topics such as the expression of digital identity, curating personal, digital narratives and memories, proxies of digital self, digital and physical world connections, online identities and understanding how individuals and society could benefit from the value of digital selves.

Session chair: Professor Wendy Moncur, Interdisciplinary Chair of Digital Living, University of Dundee

Confirmed speakers: Professor Irene Ng, WMG & HATDeX and Siân Lindley, Microsoft Research


Week 2: 22 March 2017, 5.30pm – Personal data: Industry and Markets

Covering areas such as personal data as a commodity that fuels $31b of the advertising economy, exchange mechanisms, transactions, industry practices, monetization, dataification, digitization.

Session chair: Professor Irene Ng, Professor of Marketing & Service Systems, WMG, University of Warwick


Week 3: 29 March 2017, 5.30pm – Personal data: freedom and rights

Covering areas such as privacy, security, access rights, regulation, transaction costs and ownership, property rights.

Session chair: Professor John Naughton, Emeritus Fellow, Wolfson College & Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH), University of Cambridge

Confirmed speaker: Roger Taylor, Open Public Services Network


Week 4: Personal data: Innovation and Analytics, 5 April 2017, 4.30pm (including a wrap-up session)

Covering areas such as personal data creation, schemas, analytics, transformation, algorithms and technical issues of storing, moving, using and display, human factors and interaction.

Session chair: Professor Jon Crowcroft, Marconi Professor of Communications Systems, University of Cambridge


Spaces are limited, so please register to attend ASAP!



HAT R & D : 2016 in Review

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HALL CONTriVe research team meeting in Sept 2016


What a year it’s been for the HAT research (R & D) team!

We’ve continued to have another good year in 2016. Early on, we saw the award of a £1.2m research grant by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to four universities involved in the HAT project. The ConTriVE grant investigates the role of control and trust in mitigating risks arising from perceived vulnerability in the use of personal data. The grant also enabled the team to set up the HAT Living Labs (HALL), an experimental environment or ‘sandbox’ within the HAT live ecosystem.

The ConTriVE project began on June 1, followed by the appointment of Dr Mike Dixon as HALL research director responsible for steering the HALL’s research agenda. The HALL is now open to researchers worldwide; those interested in accessing the HAT platform data for their work are invited to submit research proposals to us. CONTRIVE is also working with the £1.5M Databox Project to develop a device that could house a ‘hard-HAT’ to complement the current cloud-based HATs. This is a data processing framework that allows data processors to compute over cohorts of data subjects in a world with Databoxes.

In November, we received the good news that we’d received another £1.1m EPSRC grant. This time, to a project that will use HATs to investigate human-related risks and behavioural issues in cybersecurity and cybercrime ecosystems. Led by Surrey University’s Dr Shujun Li, the ACCEPT project will see both the Universities of Warwick and Surrey becoming HAT providers in 2017. They will create sandboxes on the HAT ecosystem and run some interesting experiments.


Completion of RUMPEL

The HAT may have been officially handed over to the HAT Foundation in Feb 2016 for its further development and global rollout. However, R & D work on the HAT platform continued with the completion of the RUMPEL hyperdata browser through the RCUK-funded HARRIET project. Released in mid-2016, RUMPEL enables HAT users to browse the personal data collected onto their HATs, allowing them to control, combine and share the data in whatever way they wish. Designing RUMPEL was quite a challenge though, as PI Irene Ng explains in this blogpost about the principles and thinking behind its design.


HAT Accolade

The year also saw the HAT receive an accolade. In the O2 NextGen Digital Challenge Awards 2016, it was named a runner-up in the Innovative Digital Applications category. Meanwhile, the HAT continues to be in the news. It was recently featured in an Inc.com article about how data needs to be more personal in the 21st century. In a Scientific American blogpost earlier this year, HAT researchers Mike Skilton and Irene Ng discussed how the Apple vs FBI case was opening the door for new approaches to managing our personal data. The HAT also received a lot of media attention earlier in the year following the HAT Foundation’s launch of its Indiegogo campaignDo visit the HAT Media page to see what they’ve been saying about the HAT.


Looking ahead in 2017

As we turn to the year ahead, there’s much to look forward to, including the April start of the ACCEPT project. And ongoing work continues with ConTriVE and HALL. This includes the sponsorship of a Digitization and Datafication of Services Track at the 5th Naples Forum on Service in Sorrento, Italy this summer. Spring 2017 will see the inaugural Wolfson-HAT Annual Symposium, held at Wolfson College, Cambridge. This series of panel discussions will explore critical issues around the uses (and abuses) of our personal data. It will also consider the wider questions of the Digital Person, freedom, identity, security and innovation.

And finally, the HAT/HALL is also now on ResearchGate! Follow us at https://www.researchgate.net/project/HALL-HAT-Living-Labs.

Also, do join our HAT Mailing List to receive with regular updates on our HAT activities.


HAT Research continues!

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HAT Research Continues!

There are HUGE plans for research as we move into the new year! Watch out for the list of our activities:


Click on the image for the RUMPEL flyer

The HAT is done – it’s stable to be built on and it’s ready. But it’s like saying, ‘I have a www or I have an operating system’. Not exciting. What we need is a killer app (and there can be many!) to get the HAT into a roll-out stage where it would be adopted by millions. So the research team now focuses on the second HAT project we have to deliver on – a personal resource planning system – the HARRIET project. And the HARRIET project will deliver – RUMPEL. What is RUMPEL? Hold on – let me explain.

First – when we say personal data, many people do not know what we mean! Do you mean my email address? Do you mean my credit card details? Or my address? Actually, it’s a lot more than that! But the problem we have is that we haven’t really SEEN our personal data – they are taken by the firms and we don’t even understand/haven’t seen what we have given away. Let me make this point clear: We don’t understand and value our own personal data because we haven’t really seen it. This is why we would so happily give it away for a chance to play a simple game etc. etc. For a market to happen, both sides must feel that a commodity is of value. Otherwise, it’s like us mining rubbish and giving it away. There will never be real prices and a market would not happen.

So what is this personal data? Well, there is your location on your phone, your Facebook postings, the music you listen to, etc. etc. BUT we have never seen them all in one place! So when we don’t have a way of seeing our data, we don’t feel precious about it. It’s like seeing bits of your clothing all over the place, but only when they come together in your wardrobe do you realise you have some good stuff and you can mix and match for your own benefit. RUMPEL therefore fulfills this important psychological function with your personal data – making it your own hyper data browser (our personal data wardrobe) with good data visualisations of your own data and allowing you to create bundles and collections. And in so doing, Rumpel must be able to ‘spin straw to gold’ – to make the human being feel his data has value to himself. There are many people who want to sell their data because they think it is valuable to firms. What they don’t understand is that an exchange of a precious commodity can happen only when BOTH SIDES value the data.  If RUMPEL can make you see real value of the data TO YOURSELF, you will demand more in exchange for it. But more importantly, the firms would also find your contextualised data more valuable as well!

Clearly Rumpel is a challenge of interaction design, user experience design and data visualisation. Yup, that’s why it’s a research project. But we should have Rumpel out by January 2016 because we have been working on it for awhile.

Second – when we give Rumpel over to our entrepreneurial team (HATDeX), we want our HAT Platform Providers (HPPs) to be profitable from selling apps like RUMPEL to help us with our data! RUMPEL is free for the first year of roll-out and after that, there would be a minimum cost (to be decided by the entrepreneurial HATDEX team -please ignore the £1 in the flyer – it is only a recommendation) and our HPPs would get a commission off that – the way Apple get a commission from their apps. This will help our HPPs get into revenues quickly – assuming they are ready to take on RUMPEL when it’s ready to launch. HPPs – are you ready to RUMPEL??????? 😉

The HARRIET project is managed by our resident Behavioral and Decision Researcher – Dr Ganna Pogrebna.


2. READiPEDEX (who comes up with all these acronyms!): METADATA, BLOCK CHAINS & CRYPTOCURRENCIES

The HAT begins its blockchain initiative! We will be conducting an open innovation competition for developers to access the feasibility and evaluate the impact of blockchain (and related technology) adoption in a really distributed personal data exchange.

We anticipate having Hackathon events for a three-month period from Jan 2016 to maximise access to a large quantity of innovative ideas on the following three objectives:

  1. Deploying Blockchain-enabled transaction script and distributed public ledger to facilitate live HAT2HAT (contextualised) data exchange in a distributed consensus;
  2. Developing Mining-alike process to discover contextualised packages for personal data configuration as the basic unit of exchange (in comparison with mining coins in Bitcoin); and
  3. Experimenting with Smart Contracts (Szabo, 1997) with embedded cryptocurrency payment (such as Bitcoin) for the HAT personal data exchange transactions in the ecosystem.

The Alpha community would  be a test bed for these interesting apps, so running the hackathons would be a way for developers to try their READiPEDEX apps in readiness for the full global launch of HAT in July 2016 (beta is in April). We have cash prizes as well!

READiPEDEX applications are blockchain (related) technology enabled, and we anticipate six applications – two addressing each objective – to be offered to the global HAT community. The applications will be tested and evaluated by the HAT and HARRIET teams against Innovatively, Compatibility and Scalability (as assessment categories), to derive one winning and two other shortlisted teams against each objective.

The READiPEDEX project is managed by HAT CTO Dr Xiao Ma.

Sssh….. we also have more research projects coming on the HAT as well – but we’ll let you know once we secure the funding!

Check out the HAT’s entrepreneurial activities!

The HAT Foundation Social Entrepreneurs

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The market is launched with 50 Alpha HATs, and the official RCUK HAT research project has ended on  Nov 30 2015 with the project’s handing off to two branches – the continuing HAT/HARRIET research branch of activities and HAT Foundation entrepreneurial branch of activities. This post introduces the entrepreneur team.


Entrepreneurial Activities: HAT Foundation

The Entrepreneurial team consists of two entities – HAT Data Exchange Ltd (HATDeX) and HAT Community Foundation  – forming the HAT Foundation Social Enterprise. You would have seen the explanations in our HAT briefing paper 5 and the blogpost on the HAT Foundation by now. So in this post, let me introduce you to our entrepreneurial founding team.


HATDeX’s job is to build the HAT ecosystem, scale the HATs and support all ecosystem participants including HPPs, HAPs, HAT users etc. commercially. This is with the support of University of Warwick who have, in principle, approved the gifting of all the HAT and HARRIET Software IP over to HATDeX and, in line with the 6-universities HAT research project collaboration agreement (which took a crazy amount of time to get signed), released the HAT 2015-10-22 12.15.40database schema and logic under a Creative Commons license. So HATDeX is in charge of the roll-out of HATs globally (think of it as a securities exchange for data), together with our HPPs. As we go through the due process of getting commercial agreements and IPs sorted we expect a proper launch some time in February which is also when we will probably start the global social movement and the crowdfunding campaign. In anticipation of loads of stuff happening in the new year, I thought it would be appropriate to introduce you to the HATDeX founding team that will be taking up the task. However, instead of giving you the usual ‘biodata’ which you can read on their linkedin profiles, I’ll introduce everyone from me, personally.

Management Team

Paul Tasker – Chief Executive, HATDeX

The BOSS! Paul has been the Independent Chair of the HAT Research Project Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) for the last 2.5 years. I’ve known Paul since 2007 when he led the S4T programme on behalf of BAE Systems when he was there. Paul had a huge role to play in getting me involved in Engineering and has been a great fan of the HAT from the beginning. I was really surprised that he was willing to come out of ‘retirement’ to lead the HATDeX team – and we can’t be in better hands.  Paul’s  experience in the corporate world as well as in bridging academic and industry initiatives is his biggest asset. He has the maturity and experience to talk HAT with policymakers in government, as well as with senior industry professionals, a suitable projection of HATDeX as an ‘adult’ startup ;p. Paul’s biggest task is to lead us all – which isn’t easy  mind you, when you have academics like me that tends to stray and play in all directions. Which is why he constantly gives  me a hard time – and I am very grateful for his leadership.

Dr Xiao Ma – Chief Technology Officer, HATDeX

The technological jigsaw master! How does the technology come together with the business, the social, the research and the commercial? Xiao, who is also a post-doc (Senior Research Fellow)  at Warwick manages all that, making sure that they are well integrated into the plan for the research and the roll-out. And because he can see the picture of how technology works with business and research? He is extremely good at acquiring and juggling resources so that the tech team and I get to do what we have to do! Xiao is a Computer Scientist with a PhD in engineering, specialising in ontology engineering. He’s the first person to see if you want to understand the interface between tech, research and business. He was a technology transfer specialist, specialising in technology management so he can see where everything fits. More important, Xiao, Andrius and I are able to work really well on an ‘Agile’ basis (which is code word for changing things all the time. Paul thinks we do it just to annoy him ;)).

From 30 Nov, Xiao will be dividing his time between HARRIET and HATDeX.

Dr Andrius Aucinas – Head of Engineering, HATDeX2015-10-22 12.16.04

What can I say about Andrius except that he’s a postdoc working with me, and (1) he’s been coding since 11 years old; (2) he recently graduated with a PhD in Computer Science under Prof Jon Crowcroft (our HAT Co-I);  (3) he technically operationalised the vision of the HAT since the first ‘strawman’ schema that I created with the help of HAT Researcher Laura Phillips and later with Xiao; (4) he’s spent many many many hours in my house discussing every aspect of the HAT, its schema and its ‘boundaries’ between tech, business model and behaviours to fin tune further the operationalisation of the schema and the logic (my daughters now call him their foster brother); (5) he has been reasonably well-fed by hubby and well imbibed with alcohol from me; (6) he’s mobilised a very talented tech team to build the HAT; (7) he’s had very little sleep in the last 6 months; (8) he’s brilliant.

From 30 Nov, Andrius will be dividing his time between HARRIET and HATDeX.

Me, Professor Irene Ng – Chief Strategist/Economist and Chairman of HATDeX

I am the architect, the designer of the economic system which comprises of the market as well as the many different economic models, business models, market configurations globally and these configurations directly interact with the way the technology is designed (e.g. in app revenues, plugins etc.) so the design is very much to do with the interface of technology/business/behaviours. My job is to make sure that incentives are aligned within the system, that the system is self-regulating, self-reinforcing and will generate positive network effects by itself so that I don’t have to work that hard (I’m lazy that way). My academic credentials are of course as an Industrial/Business Economist in Marketing/Markets for my PhD. I have published widely in economics, sociology, marketing, management and operations literature. Did Physics/Applied Physics/Comp Programming for my undergrad,  RDBMS programmer for many years, Chartered Secretary for 15 years, Entrepreneur for 15 years, Academic for 15 years etc. etc. so I am comfortable with having both a startup and an academic hat (sorry, bad pun ;)). I am also the Chairman of the board, so my main job is to represent community and shareholder interests on the HATDeX board.

From 16 Feb (expected launch of the global campaign and HATDeX), I will go down to 4 days a week for my academic job and will serve 1 day a week at HATDeX.

HATDeX Non-Exec Directors and Advisors

Roger, Glenn, Jon and Mark are part of our Founding team as Advisors and Non-exec Directors of HATDeX. We are beholden to them for advice, ideas, support, cautionary tales, gossip, beer and wine. Having been involved in the HAT project, their experience in the different parts of the HAT initiative have been extensive. They are our evangelists, our champions and the sounding board for our plans. For myself, I have had the  benefit of their expertise all through the project, even if it meant I had to accost them at pubs. I look forward to accosting them some more when I need help (which is likely to be 2015-10-22 12.41.47often).

Professor Roger Maull – Systems, Operations, Business Models, Blockchains, Cryptocurrencies, everything business

Dr Glenn Parry – Supply Chains, Business Models, Blockchains, Cryptocurrencies, everything business

Professor Jon Crowcroft  – IoT, Networks, Security, everything computing

Professor Mark Skilton – Data, security, standards, compliance, certification, everything compliance and standards

HAT Community Foundation

As part of the HAT Foundation, the HAT Community Foundation (HCF) will also be set up as a company limited by guarantee, and would be applying for a Charity status. The HCF has the job of governing HATDeX, to ensure that the social entrepreneurship governance mechanisms are in place for the HAT community. It owns one golden share of HATDeX and will receive 20% of HATDeX dividend for its activities, principal of which is to further Research and Innovation on the HAT in partnership with WMG, University of Warwick.

Founding team

Professor Roger Maull – Chairman, HCF

I am very pleased that Roger has accepted the role of the Chairman of HCF. As colleagues at Exeter and even after he moved on to University of Surrey and co-founded the Centre for Digital Economy, Roger and I have worked together on many projects and papers and was a co-Investigator on the HAT research project. Despite his busy schedule, he has agreed to take on this role. Roger’s heart is in the community. Even from the start of the project, he has had great interest in collaborative consumption and the role of the HAT in building up social communities (See his video here). With him chairing the HCF, I am very assured that the HCF would go places and community interests will always be upheld.

Non-exec Directors and Advisors

I am very pleased that two members of my team at WMG have also agreed to be the founding directors of HCF. Together with Roger, they will make a formidable team for the HCF.

Dr Ganna Pogrebna – Ganna heads up the HARRIET project and would represent WMG and the University of Warwick interest in the HCF, as its research partner.

Peter Ward Peter was the HAT program manager and has had to manage the motley HAT gang for the last 2 years! Peter will provide HCF with continuity from the HAT research project, and will also represent development and innovation interest on HCF.

HCF expects to appoint further non-exec Directors and Advisors, so stay tuned. This blogpost marks the official handover of entrepreneurial activities to the leadership of our HATDeX Chief Executive and interim HCF Chief Executive, Paul Tasker. Paul will provide updates on the HAT Foundation in the future; read his first blogpost here.


The HAT: Looking back and forward

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THE HAT: Looking Back and Forward

So we are done… A total of 2.5 years in active work with preparations happening long before we got funded (we were funded on our third attempt). A total of £1.2m spent on a project to engineer and design a multi-sided market for personal data. The HAT.

I thought I’ll pen some of my reflections here. Many of my thoughts I’ve kept to myself all through the project because (1) I wanted to keep the spirits up, and the motivations strong for the team; (2) I didn’t want to alarm anyone;  (3) some of the interdisciplinary challenges were really challenging aka I DON’T KNOW THE ANSWER STOP ASKING ME; and (4) it’s wrong to swear inappropriately.

First meeting of the HAT Research team: May 2013

But seriously. We are done, the £1.2m RCUK HAT research project, that is. And I think we have done what a research project is supposed to deliver, although I don’t think even the RCUK would know what a social science project on multi-sided markets and its economic/business models should deliver except the usual publications etc. etc. I mean, this isn’t a tech project so it’s not meant to deliver a ‘thing’. But we have always intended to deliver anyway, just not a ‘thing’, but a market. In the end, we came close, but not quite. Everything is built and in place for the market. Alpha HATs are out (see blogpost here) and there will be 50 people exchanging data and playing with their HATs. Whether it’s sustainable, scalable and would take off, well now, that’s not the scope of a research project. That is the scope of entrepreneurial activity.

Of course, the ambition is much greater than what we were tasked to deliver, so RCUK should be really happy because we had a great team of researchers who worked beyond their call of duty (and certainly beyond the time costs stated) to achieve something that is hard, but needed to be done.

1st Mad Hatters’ Tea Party: July 2014

Publications-wise, the team has issued six Briefing Papers and numerous publications – the briefing papers are not credited to specific authors as they were a collective effort and completely without copyright, so they are not just for the community to read and understand, but for researchers on the HAT to take on the content and use as they please for their own publications; it’s ‘open source’ that way. On top of the briefing papers, I am really pleased to say that many of the team have published extensively in really good journals across disciplines. I always think that an interdisciplinary project is only successful if all of the academics contributed back to their mother disciplines. For a list of our outputs – please check them out here. More are in the pipeline though, so stay in touch!

Impact-wise, we’ve certainly ticked the boxes. The HAT Foundation has started (read blogpost here) and will be taking over from the HAT research project team on the roll-out side of things. WMG, University of Warwick has in-principle granted approval to gift the HAT software IPs to the HAT Foundation. The HAT database schema and logic itself have been released under a Creative Commons license as agreed through the six-university collaborative agreement. If HATs become ubiquitous, our impact case study for the next REF would be awesome.

First meeting of the HAT Research team: May 2013

I would really like to thank all the researchers and professional staff for their contributions to the project – we couldn’t have done this without all of you. Special thanks to HAT Program Manager Peter Ward, Business Development Manager Chris Brown, HAT Comms Manager Yin Lim and HAT Administrator Vivienne Tsimbili  who worked hard to keep it all together. Also to Warwick Tech team Xiao Ma, Martin Talbot, Nabeel Shaikh and Andrius Aucinas, the Cambridge team Jon Crowcroft and Helen Oliver, the Edinburgh team Chris Speed and Chris Barker, the Nottingham team who instrumented and started the project Tom Rodden, Ewa Luger and Peter Tolmie, as well as the Business/Economics team of Roger Maull, Laura Phillips, Glenn Parry, Kim Scharf, Ganna Pogrebna, Mark Skilton and Susan Wakenshaw. Also our overseas research team of Jennifer Chandler, Melissa Akaka, Illias Danatzis and Caroline Wernicke, coordinated by David Reynolds. You have all been wonderful and deserve a good pat on the back for a job well done.

A special mention to my co-Is Glenn Parry and Roger Maull – if I counted how many hours we discussed how a shower should be instrumented for what data, what decision and what behaviour, I think we probably have exceeded our RCUK-funded time. It was fun and it was certainly productive, as we’ve written papers on showers and toilet roll usage! I also remember the moment when we moved up from focusing on HAT as an M2M hub for IoT to HAT as a data hub for IoT. That was around the third month. It was quite an epiphany because it was the realisation that the individual would never be a co-creator of value in IoT as long as we talked about IoT at the machine level. It was only at the data level that the individual could fully participate and create value in the ecosystem. That was certainly a milestone for me and we never looked back. Of course, once that was decided, we moved into Information Systems instead of staying at the computing/ECE level and I am grateful to Jon Crowcroft for his flexibility and his immense breadth of knowledge. Designing something that crosses IT, IS, Business, Human Behaviours and Markets was never going to be easy and I depended on my co-Is’ ability to live with A LOT of uncertainty and ambiguity before design decisions on the proposed economic and business models were made. And I am also grateful to Mark Skilton for stepping in when he did, to lead all the standards, certification and compliance work. What would we do without all of you 🙂

Guests and participants at the 2nd Mad Hatters' Tea Party
At the 2nd Mad Hatters’ Tea Party: Oct 2014

Special thanks to our Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) too – and Paul Tasker as our IAB Chair.You’ve been so patient with us when we were muddling through some of the economic, business and market issues in the project. It is always a challenge with advisory boards of economic and business model projects because its not about the tech but about the business, so at times it wasn’t clear what the IAB was asked to advise on. Yet, I have found the IAB really helpful to solidify our thinking on the HAT economic and market model. Thank you, board members and Paul.

Now to talk about LOOKING FORWARD

Did I say the HAT Research project is over? Oh no, it’s not. IT’S NEVER OVER! mwahahahaha…..  This is what happens when you make it a personal mission. There is still much more to be done.

The HAT Research project now branches into TWO – the RESEARCH team carries on with HARRIET/HAT Research activities, while the ENTREPRENEURIAL team carries on with HAT Foundation. What does that mean?

Well, the HAT is done and relatively stable now. The latest Alpha release is here and we are now focusing on two things. First, the global roll-ou through the entrepreneurial project and second, continuing the interesting research USING the HAT through a few other research projects.

Read about the RESEARCH continuing here

Read about the ENTREPREUNEURIAL activity here

They are both interlinked – so make sure you read them both!


Alpha HAT is here!

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Alpha HAT is here!

Please note that Alpha HAT Sign-up has ended, you can now get Beta HAT by support us on Indiegogo

Following our issue of the HAT technical briefing paper and the pre-Alpha HAT in Oct 2015,  we are now releasing the Alpha version of the HAT for testing by the community.

This Alpha release of the HAT is yet to contain all of the features that we have planned for the final version; this also means that it may still contain bugs and could crash. So we are counting on you, our early adopters and development community, to give us constructive AlphaHATfeedback and help make the HAT better. But the good news is that this version will include a (very) basic version of our Hyperdata Browser for your HAT data.

If this is the first time that you’ve heard of the HAT, please visit our website http://hubofallthings.com where you can find more information including our vision and design of the HAT ecosystem via our briefing papers. In summary, the HAT consists of a database schema, a data logic layer and APIs within a trust framework that enables individuals to self-service (contain, transform, bundle and exchange all types of personal data) their personal data to reveal their contextualised insights and share the right information (quality and quantity) with the right people, in the right situations, for the right purposes, and to gain the benefits.

So what’s new in the Alpha HAT? In this Alpha release (Nov 2015) of the HAT, we have included:

  • Bundling of contextualised data
  • Data Debit support for both contextualised and contextless data bundles
  • Inbound data services including:
      1. Facebook events, timeline and profile
      2. Calendar (iCal format)
      3. iOS location
  • Scripts for deploying HATs locally and in a Docker container
  • API testing (core HAT codebase coverage 80%+)

The Alpha HAT is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. This means that you can use, copy and redistribute the Alpha HAT in any medium or format, as long as it is in its original form (without remix, transform, or build upon) and your work is not for commercial purposes. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/.

If you are interested in the commercial license of the HAT, it will soon be available as part of membership with the HAT ecosystem which will give HAT Platform Service Providers (HPPs) and HAT Application Providers (HAPs) the ability to interoperate globally and tap into HAT Data Exchange (HATDeX) services such as certification, compliance and aggregate metadata services (to show favourite bundles, collections etc.). Read this blogpost for more about the HATDeX.

If you simply just want a HAT and don’t want to get your hands dirty with too much tech muddling, you can sign up to receive a commercial HAT when this is launched. This will be available to individuals and organisations on a freemium basis, along with some initial applications provided by our HAT Platform Providers (HPPs), the first two of which are Enable iD in the UK and Europe, and Noggin Pte Ltd in Singapore.

If you are from the development community and want to gain a better understanding of the HAT-based personal data ecosystem and have a play with the HAT, please:

  • Join our discussion forum


Going forward…

The HAT is still evolving rapidly, and everyone is very welcome to contribute! More features are coming in the Beta release of the HAT in April, and we are currently working on the following:

    1. Data Schema documentation
    2. An improved hyperdata browser (see pre-release information on RUMPEL – coming soon!)
    3. Pre-defined contextualised bundle cases
    4. HAT-to-HAT direct and private data sharing
    5. SSL encryption of communications (client and server verification)
    6. More inbound data services to acquire your own data into your HAT including –
      • Fitbit
      • Myfitnesspal
      • Fibaro
      • Withings
      • and if you have something else to suggest, do drop us a note in the forum

Thank you to all again for joining us on this adventurous and exciting social movement to regain control of our personal data, and happy playing with the Alpha HAT!


Sign Up for your Alpha HAT

As part of the Alpha HAT release, we are making HAT available to 50 early adopters. However, to get your Alpha HAT, you will need to opt into the HARRIET research, which manages the Alpha HAT system. This means that your data is not private as the research team will need to test and make sure things are not broken etc. (this is the ALPHA version after all!) and therefore they will be able to see your data. If this makes you uncomfortable, so wait for the Beta version that will be launching globally in April! You can sign up here to be a Beta HAT user

Please also note that we only have 50 HATs available at the moment, and we will combine your signup time and your digital activeness (calculated from the survey) to determine if you qualify to get the Alpha HAT.

Join the HAT Revolution!

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Join the HAT Revolution!

I want a HAT!

canstockphoto1231499-1Like very many people, I have worried about my privacy on the web, I’ve shrugged when posting data about my life despite recognising that I’m giving away copyright in the content, and sometimes puzzled for hours trying to make connections between various sources of information needed to plan or make decisions about my life. I can’t combine and share data from multiple sources. Having my own “hub-of-all-things” will help me with all these issues. But to make it really work – so that consented data exchange can become the basis of new markets – we need to get HATs to lots and lots of people. To do this we need a bit of a revolution!

I’ve been privileged to work with Professor Irene Ng for a number of years, most recently with her team from Warwick, Cambridge, Surrey, UWE, Nottingham and Edinburgh Universities working on the HAT Project, a £1.2m research project funded by the Research Councils UK Digital Economy Programme. Working in conjunction with many industry and commercial partners, the research project has developed the HAT: a technology that enables us as individuals to collect, control, combine and share our personal data with privacy. And we have a “hyper-data browser” to help us search and view our collections of data in just the way we want, and in any way we want.

The HAT research project has come to a close at the end of November 2015, and the next step is to scale-up the HAT “ecosystem” or community of HAT users. We will do this through a new social enterprise: the HAT Foundation and its operating company HAT Data Exchange Ltd working closely with our launch HAT platform partners Enable iD and Noggin Asia.


The HAT: What’s Next

The HAT Foundation’s immediate mission for 2016 will be to promote widespread take-up of HATs by individuals to complement the commercial projects to be delivered by EnableiD and Noggin. It is our intent that in all cases the “basic” HAT – a personal data store that supports consented data exchange – will be made available to individuals for free with a small charge being made for some of the value added services, depending on the platform provider’s business model.

We are planning a public launch of the HAT Foundation during the first quarter 2016 and intend to make a number of releases of HAT and HAT Apps during the first half whilst engaging broad, world-wide support through a parallel kick-starter campaign. Our near-term aspiration is to have 100s of millions of HATs worldwide within a few years.

The future is HAT-enabled! Look at your data your way and put yourself at the hub-of-all-things. To join the revolution, register at: http://hubofallthings.com/join-the-hat-revolution/iwantahat/

Operationalisation of HAT Certification & GUID

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Operationalisation of HAT Certification & Global User ID

by Mark Skilton & Susan Wakenshaw

The HAT research project is coming to an end by Nov 30, and the new HAT Foundation will be taking over and implementing the rollout of the HAT in 2016. To date, the research project team has advised on the HAT’s economic and business model (HAT briefing paper 2), its technology architecture (HAT briefing paper 4) as well as the governance and ecosystem model for the eventual roll-out of the HAT (HAT briefing paper 5).

This final briefing paper from the HAT Project team – HAT Personal Data Exchange Ecosystem: Code of Practice Release 1 – is to advise on the key regulation and governance rules to be implemented and complied by all HAT participants within the HAT ecosystem. The governance rules are crucial for leveraging key architectures of the multi-sided market platform for personal data, to create value for all participants and for the viability and sustainability of the HAT personal data ecosystem.


Download “HAT Briefing Paper 6: Personal Data Exchange Ecosystem: Code of Practice Release 1” HAT-briefing-paper-6-FINAL.pdf – Downloaded 812 times – 3 MB


HAT Briefing Paper 6 documents the key governance rules implemented through the Five Key HAT Operating Principles, HAT Code Of Practice, HAT Information Policies and HAT Certification Checklist. The five Key HAT Operating Principles represent the fundamental beliefs held by the HAT founders, and is the foundation for the HAT Code of Practice. With privacy, security, confidentiality and trust (PCST) as our utmost priority for the HAT personal data platform, we had earlier articulated our 23 PCST principles in HAT Briefing Paper 3. Now, in this final briefing paper, we concentrate on the implementation and operationalisation of the 23 principles, supporting the Five Key HAT Operating Principles that centres on HAT user interests.

The HAT Information Policies are necessary for all HAT participants to successfully implement the HAT vision, and apply to all participants in the HAT Data exchange ecosystem. For HAT users, these policies demonstrate how and what they could engage with in the ecosystem. For other participants such as HAT Platform Providers(HPP), HAT Application Providers (HAP), HAT Developers and other HAT Service Providers, the HAT Information Policies articulate the requirements for being “HAT-ready”.

We feel it is necessary to provide this guidance in the final HAT briefing paper, to be passed on to the HAT Foundation for implementation. These key regulation and governance rules will of course be up for modification and changes as the roll-outs begin; however, it is the first step to set the tone and the spirit right for the HAT community. It also serves to set up the duties of the HAT Community Trust and the HAT Data Exchange (HATDeX) – the two entities of the HAT Foundation. To find out more about the what, why and hows of the HAT Foundation, download and read the HAT Briefing Paper 5)

In HAT Briefing Paper 6, we also provide a checklist for HAT certification for HAT Service Providers including HPPs, HAPs and HAT Developers in the HAT data exchange ecosystem. Aside from being used by the HAT Foundation to carry out HAT certification registration, this checklist could also be utilised by HAT participants to conduct self-checks in terms of their compliance to HAT Information Policies as well as to guide their daily conduct in the ecosystem.

The HATDeX will operationalise the certification process by following the advice on a HAT trusted procedure. This procedure entails:

  1. A HAT Service Provider request and take a HAT certification process involving a set of principles required to operate and manage a HAT service;
  2. On completion of a HAT certification checklist questionnaire, the HAT Service Provider would obtain recognised HAT Certification status and the ability to host HAT Users and trade HAT data, applications and services;
  3. The certified HAT Service Provider would be issued a unique set of HAT identities called Global User ID or “GUID”s by the HATDeX. These GUIDs would enable the certified HAT Service Provider to be identified in their HAT services, each HAT application and the HAT user databases under its HAT hosting platforms. The HATDeX will manage the HAT Certification Checklist questionnaire and the issuance of HAT Certification and GUIDs, as part of ensuring a trusted framework for HAT Users and Service Providers.

The HAT governance rules, certification process, HAT checklist questionnaire and GUIDs detailed in this final briefing paper are now open for consultation. We would appreciate your feedback on this briefing paper, which you can provide in the comment box below. Please share this post widely.


HAT Research Insights

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HAT Research Insights



As the £1.2m RCUK HAT project concludes this month, HAT PI Irene Ng presented on the lessons from research on the HAT over the past 2.5 years, and provided  insights into the future personal data economy. At a lecture entitled HAT Research Insights, the Present & the Future of the Personal Data Economy held on Nov 5, 2015 in WMG, University of Warwick, Irene also presented the road map for the future of rolling out HATs globally, and introduced the HAT Foundation, a social enterprise group of the HAT Community Trust Ltd and HAT Data Exchange Ltd, and its founding team that is creating a global social movement for HAT roll-outs.

The presentation slides are available here.