Ami and OPERANDO

Ami is being developed by Oxford Computer Consultants (OCC) in partnership with a number of local and national volunteer organisations. Another of OCC’s projects is a European Commission Horizon 2020 project called OPERANDO, which is funding some of Ami’s software development and testing.

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What is OPERANDO?

The OPERANDO project aims to create and field-test an innovative new “privacy enforcement” platform that businesses and organisations can use to enhance their data protection and privacy as well as improving how users can understand and control how their personal data are used by the providers of services they use online.

Let’s illustrate the concept with an example. If we imagine a user of a social network called Hello World:

  • Terms of Use. When they sign up to the service they agree to some terms of use, they may or may not read these and they may or may not be aware of what the agreement means with regard to how their data might be used by Hello World.
  • Privacy. At some point they might configure their privacy settings. These might be hard to find and often even harder to understand.
  • Valuable data. Over time the user will enter all sorts of valuable and even sensitive information into Hello World and that data can be used by Hello World in a wide variety of ways, some of which might be unexpected due to a hard to understand or unread terms of use. Most likely Hello World will try to make money from the user’s data through advertising or selling access to their information to parties that might find it interesting. This can introduce ethical or even regulatory issues.
  • Removing access. The user might decide that they wanted to change their mind and remove some of their data from Hello World or even delete their account. How can they be sure their data is not going to continue to be used or sold?

OPERANDO helps by putting the user in control of their data and helping them understand how it will be used by service providers like Hello World. OPERANDO lets the user choose which of their data is shared and with whom. They can remove access to their data at any time and trust that it will remain secure. They can make clear choices about how their data might be used or analysed.

Who uses OPERANDO?

The OPERANDO platform will benefit a number of groups:

  • Online Service Providers – These are organisations needing to record or use the sensitive data belonging to an individual. Hello World was one example, needing to record, access and share sensitive data about individuals. These organisations will gain the ability to show explicit consent from users, cost-effectively comply with privacy regulations and increase the trust of users.
  • Privacy Service Providers – These are the organisations that will run the OPERANDO platforms offering privacy services to the public and access to that data to the Online Service Providers. they gain the ability to deploy a secure, standard and compliant platform on which to base their operations.
  • Users – Can manage their online privacy issues with an intuitive web application. They can also trust that their chosen privacy settings will be enforced on all Online Service Providers using their data.
  • Privacy Regulators – OPERANDO will allow regulators to automatically audit the privacy policies of Online Service Providers to ensure they comply with the relevant privacy regulations.

How does Ami fit in?

Ami will be a case study for OPERANDO. Acting as an Online Service Provider, Ami will show how OPERANDO can be used to manage the privacy of its users’ data. Ami deals with sensitive data about volunteers and vulnerable people so trust is paramount. OPERANDO will help users and/or voluntary organisations working on their behalf, to understand how to control their information. It gives Ami the benefit of that trust as well as a clear way to comply with data regulations.

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