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Department of Informatics Information Management Research Group

Data Purse - Data Management for Citizens

Project aims

A Data Purse is a digital safe ready to store all important personal data and documents. It serves as a focal exchange point for transmitting and receiving data and documents from public and private organizations like banks, tax offices, the police or insurance companies and to integrate this data in e-business or e-government processes based on a user-controlled data-sharing mechanism. According to three scenarios with inter-organizational data and document exchange (new citizens, emergency data/criminal prevention, and attachment handling for the tax office) the system will be designed, implemented and evaluated in Zurich.

Instead of having several accounts spread over different organizations, the Data Purse as a “centralized” data locker helps users to engage in active informational self-determination while carrying out e-government or e-commerce transactions. For instance, a citizen has to interact with several stakeholders, like the police or an insurance company, when reporting a theft or a burglary (more information on our application domain crime prevention). It is the Data Purse owner who decides with whom he or she wants to share which information item (e.g. an address) or which document. Privacy-by design is a foundational principle of the planned solution in order to provide a safe and trusted service under an individual’s control. User-driven data and document sharing enables an easy and safe integration of data in electronic business processes of public administrations and companies.

With the help of the (future) Data Purse an individual can take care of its digital identities. Internet-based services provide manifold ways to interconnect individuals as members of society. Profile-based data is curated, generated and shared using social networks or online stores. There are many places where personal data has to be offered in exchange for services. Managing your own digital identities and the data associated with it, shall be possible with the Data Purse. Individuals should exert fully control over their digital information and decide for which purpose they expose them.

The idea of the Data Purse project was born during a public idea contest and an expert workshop on behalf of the eZürich-initiative whose aim is to strengthen and promote Zurich as an ICT location. Several ideas have been chosen to be developed in different streams towards implementation. The information management research group participated in such a stream: A state-of-the-art report on electronic data safes has been prepared and a grant proposal for funding has been successfully prepared. After having been launched by the e-Zürich-initiative, the project now became an independent cooperation of the industrial partners and the information management research group which will be financially supported by the KTI/CIT (commission of innovation and technology).

Research questions

Developing the Data Purse touches questions related to the personal information management of citizens, the appropriate socio-technological design and the market success. According to these topics, the research questions are grouped. At the beginning, a thorough understanding how citizens pursue their personal information management is necessary – which has been ignored by previous projects focusing only on the needs of the public administration. Thus, the first research question is:

Research question 1: How does the Data Purse support the personal information management?

In order to answer this question, three other sub-questions have to be answered:

Research question 1.1: Which information items are of special value during which life events for citizens?

Research question 1.2: How to integrate the Data Purse in the everyday-life of citizens?

Research question 1.3: What does “privacy” in the context of the Data Purse mean and how shall it be achieved?

On answering the first research questions, we will obtain requirements for the design of the Data Purse based on the citizen’s perspective. For the scientific communication, these requirements will be generalized. The second research question deals with the design of the Data Purse. Besides the requirements from research question one, the main-requirement of providing interoperability will be addressed there. The design will be described by an appropriate architecture. Therefore, the second research question is:

Research question 2: How to design an interoperable architecture for the Data Purse?

To answer this question, the multiple layers of an architecture will be described using reference models and by means of design principles. On the level of the process architecture, requirements of the public administration will be gathered. A generalization of the requirements and design principles forms the core contributions of a design theory which will be the main research result.

The third research question is dealing with the market success of a Data Purse. A deep understanding of user’s needs and drivers is essential to build business models upon that and to plan for the introduction. The third research questions splits into three sub-questions:

Research question 3: How to drive the Data Purse to market success?

Research question 3.1: What is the benefit of a Data Purse?

Research question 3.2: What is an appropriate business model?

Research question 3.3: How to design the introduction of the Data Purse?

The deliverables of the third research question consist in a model of benefits described by factors driving the benefits, a tested business model, and a tested concept of introduction.

Project partners

Duration: 27 months

Project started: 09/2012

Project ended: 11/2014

Media coverage

Please see also section Research on Data Purse on our media coverage page.

Research publications

Application Domains