New data privacy app for consumers to prevent tech giants from exploiting their personal online data

The data privacy software company, myGaru Technologies, today announced the availability of a new, free app that empowers individuals to take back ownership of their personal data.

As apps and websites sweep up personal data from users’ devices – from social media ‘likes’, to geolocation and online purchases – often without the individual’s knowledge, this app will collect this data, protect it, and prevent its unauthorised use. Users of the app will also regularly receive revenue from advertisers for using their data.

When consumers use apps or accept cookies on websites, many don’t realise they’re giving permission for their personal information to be collected and distributed, yet this data is fuelling a $200 billion-dollar adtech industry. This app aims to stop the exploitation of this personal data, by preventing it from being gathered and sold on to third parties without an individual’s awareness or consent.

By downloading the app, users can import their personal information from social networks, mobile apps or websites into one secure data storage. This app can withdraw a user’s consent on their behalf, request that advertisers stop using the individual’s data and erase it from ad databases.

The platform connects to ad servers and whenever the data that the user has given consent to share is used, they’ll receive a fee from the advertiser for using their data. This enables users to earn money from their own data in a way that is safe, compliant and preserves their privacy. Users can specify ad categories that are most relevant to them, so rather than receive more ads, they are served only with ads that correspond to these areas of interest.

According to YouGov research, with UK adults, there is an appetite amongst consumers to share data providing they are in control. Overall, 42% of UK consumers would be happy to share some identifiable data with third parties, once they’ve given their explicit consent.

Amongst those in the 18-44 age bracket, 46% would be willing to share data on their personal interests/preferences (brands, hobbies, sports, etc.) and 45% are willing to share their online data with digital advertisers in return for small regular cash payments. The research also reveals the need for more transparency in how data is collected and shared, with nearly half (48%) calling for more education / awareness about how online data is monetised by brands.

Commenting on the launch, Spyridon Kleitsas, CEO of myGaru said: “Data privacy should be a fundamental right for all, however users don’t always realise that they’re giving consent for their data to be used - their photos, messages and personal information - by unknown third parties. Every time a user visits a website, they’re sending out reams of information such as their interests, buying patterns and location to a great swathe of invisible adtech market middlemen. As the businesses are hoovering up this data, in industrial quantities – and selling it on - the user is largely left in the dark about what data is out there and who’s using it.”

Spyridon continues: “The existing model for online data sharing is broken; there’s a huge imbalance as the adtech market players generate a huge profit trading users’ data for digital advertising. However, the users – who are the rightful owners of the data – are effectively cut out of this model. Our approach redresses this balance, re-building the trust of users and delivering a transparent, fair and ethical way they can share online data.”

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