If you’re not familiar with the Locker Project it’s an open source personal data storage platform. You can learn more by reading my initial coverage here. Currently only an “eager developer version” is available but a self-installable version should be coming soon.
A few days ago they launched a blog. Up until now we’ve only had a few blog posts based on initial discussions with the team regarding what exactly they are planning with the Locker Project. This is the first explanation directly from the team on what goals and ambitions of this new software / service aims to provide. After reading the post it’s clear that this is a very ambitious project. They outline the importance of what they are trying to achieve which in a nutshell is to give us users the ability to store, control, and gain new value and meaning from our personal data.
I feel this is the most important project initiatives in a long time. I really hope they can pull this off but it will require building a strong developer base, partnerships for data import / export, and a significant base of user adoption. I think the challenge will be for them to easily communicate the value proposition to people that don’t understand the need for this to be done. This can be done on several levels both from a privacy and data ownership argument as well as compelling ways to offer unique features that show insight into the aggregation of data provided within a locker.
If you want to stay updated on the project, you can follow @lockerproject on Twitter. They’re also starting an active community discussion on #lockerproject at irc.freenode.net. Here’s a decent web client to help you join if you don’t have or want to install an IRC client.
Godspeed team Locker Project
Here’s a few excerpts from the lengthy blog post:
Lockers are systems that allow people to collect all of their data into one resource that they truly own. Even the code base of the Locker Project is open source, ensuring that people can run their lockers as they see fit, where they see fit. By using a rich system of connectors and collections, lockers make it possible to access and aggregate personal data, even when no traditional web API exists for the source. Interactions between lockers, applications, data and services are encrypted and secured via a highly secure protocol and system of authorization.
Data ownership alone, however, doesn’t solve the problem of providing discrete value to a person. To deliver real and actionable value, Singly is extending the Locker Project’s trust and authentication ecosystem to enable application developers to build powerful products on top of personal data. We are looking to solve the parallel problems of developers’ access to and maintenance of personal data and individuals’ needs for data ownership and security, enabling a whole new class of valuable interactions between people, their data and creative developers world-wide.
Persistent + Pervasive Data Access :: Personal Data Lockers
Many applications and individual uses of data rely upon consistent access to data, and access across the full historical range of data in a given set. Sadly, many data silos are becoming more and more restrictive, making it harder (if not impossible) to achieve this level of access directly through their APIs. Lockers provide a personally-owned data repository that allow individuals to bypass some of these difficulties, and to authorize and authenticate applications on top of this rich data. Lockers also enable connections with non-traditional data types, such as browser history, email records, utility records, etc (at an individual’s discretion), enabling very rare insight into a person’s data profile.
Flexible Data Access + Manipulation :: Connectors + Collections
Lockers can provide extensible access to a person’s data via Connectors and Collections. Connectors represent pluggable components that maintain the interaction and sync with external services (Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, etc), while Collections are comprised of logic, data and APIs for abstract data that is composed from other data sources, or synthesized by applications interfacing with lockers. For instance, a Contacts collection represents all contacts from across an individual’s attached accounts, providing a unified mechanism for addressing those data entities. Extending these concepts across various data types provides a very powerful way of interacting with a person’s data.