All posts by eveliinamaria

My Data

Companies are gathering information of our shopping behavior and other personal data. But what My Data actually is and what it is used for? In this blog text I try to understand the definition behind My Data, the reasons why companies want to gather data from their customers and how are they going to profit by doing that.

My Data, a term created in Great Britain, is based on data that have been collected from users of different applications and services. It provides the individuals easy access to the data gathered from them and one of the main points in My Data is that individuals can manage that information. This issue is also strongly connected to privacy of individuals and that’s why EU has started to prepare new directives to protect individual privacy. (Poikola et al. 2014; Aalto-Setälä 2016.)

My Data is consisting of our own personal data. Personal data is seen as a resource in which the individual him-/herself can or cannot have control and access to. Our personal data is formed of information that is stored in private and governmental organizations database. These organizations have information about our health, retail purchases, banking and finance services, used web services and our habits of communication and the use of different medias. (Poikola et al.)

Personal data is mostly in a digital form. Different digital technologies are gathering information from our daily activities, social relations and relationships. This type of information is transferred between many different sites. (Lupton 2016.)


Sources of personal data (Poikola etc.)

What then makes personal data to My Data? As a minimum requirement can be defined the access and control to your personal data. Furthermore, My Data gives the possibility to sell our personal data to third parties, manage the personal information found from us, e.g. remove or correct our personal information. Also it enables us to see the real content of the personal information gathered from us. My Data is individual’s way of benefiting of the personal data. (Poikola et al.)

My Data approach is created to protect our human rights and at the same time help companies to have data. The reason for this kind of approach is that individuals could have possibility to manage the collected data. (Poikola et al.)

When looking into the world of data, there is often mentioned term big data. Big data means that the data is collected either from digital or traditional sources and it is basically non-classified mass of data. It is based on interaction and it leads to transaction. (Arthur 2014, 46; Kolehmainen 2011.) The classification of the information differs big data from My Data.

This YouTube video considers the future and the value of the personal data that can be transferred to My Data. Stuart Lacey is presenting how our own personal data collected from different applications, e.g. Facebook, can be sold to companies to used in their marketing campaigns for example. As Poikola et al. in their paper of My Data also Lacey discuss how we can ourselves benefit from our personal data as an asset in the field of business.

Issues concerning my data were widely discussed in Finnish media in summer 2016. One of the biggest retail chains in Finland, S-Ryhmä, announced that it is going to start gathering more precise data from its member’s retail purchases. The data of individual’s purchases is collected when the customer is using his or her bonus card. Previously S-Ryhmä has gathered data from its customer’s consumption habits only in level of different product groups. In this new practice, all purchases are individually and detailed reported to S-Ryhmä. (Koivisto 2016.)

S-Ryhmä reports in its own website that the data gathered from its customers are used to provide customers more targeted advertising, developing company’s business and furthermore, developing services for customers using by the data collected from their retail purchases (S-kanava). Currently S-Ryhmä has not announced any specific information to what kind of services its customer’s data is used. According to SOK’s customer business manager Pekka Malmirae new and better products are provided customers during the year 2016. (Koivisto 2016.) Data from retail purchases can also be used to report if there are any issues of product safety. If customers have bought a product that has to be returned to the shop, they can be easily contacted because of the existing data files. (Haapanen 2016.)

The reason why this change to S-Ryhmä’s data collection caused so much publicity was that people feel their privacy is threatened. What if the data gathered is hacked? And do customers really benefit from the services that are created by using their personal data? (Koivisto 2016.)

Due to the wide reporting and statements from different authorities S-Ryhmä decided to make slight changes to this new data collection system. It is providing to its customers the possibility to choose where the gathered data can be used. Data is still collected but customer can deny the usage of personal data for example to targeted marketing. (Haapanen 2016.) 23838550-730x309

The variety of Finnish retail chain membercards (Kuivaniemi 2016)

Another retail chain in Finland, K-Ryhmä, has been gathering personal data from detailed retail purchases for couple of years now. The difference between S- and K-ryhmä was that K-Ryhmä’s members have the possibility to choose how much data company receives. Consumers can either give only the total amount of their purchases or detailed information what they have been buying. Still, less than one percent of the members of K-ryhmä have denied collecting detailed data from their purchases. (Ryynänen 2016.)

What are the benefits of using my data? Companies can target their product selection to match needs of costumers and at the same time reduce loss by being able to estimate the amount of different product consumption. From customers point of view they can receive tailored services and discounts from their purchases. (Halminen 2016.)

It is important to consider pro’s and con’s when discussing the privacy of individual’s. Companies have to take care of their data protection and individuals should consider how they could make My Data as their own business and how they can benefit from it. After all, both sides should benefit from My Data.




Aalto-Setälä, Minna (2016) EU:n tietosuoja-asetus tulee – valmistaudu ajoissa., referred 17.10.2016.

Arthur, Lisa (2014) Big Data Marketing: Engage Your Customers More Effectively and Drive Value. Hoboken, New Jersey.

Haapanen, Liisa (2016) S-ryhmä taipui: Asiakas voi sittenkin päättää asiakastietojen käytöstä., referred 17.10.2016

Halminen, Laura (2016) Bonuskortti tallentaa kohta kaikki ostoksesi – HS selvitti, mitä hyötyä ja haittaa siitä on., referred 17.10.2016.

Koivisto, Matti (2016) S-ryhmä alkaa kerätä tarkempaa tietoa asiakkaista – Kuluttajaliitto tyrmistyi: “Nyt mennään pitkälle yksityiselämän asioihin”., referred 17.10.2016.

Kolehmainen, Aleksi (2011) Mitä eroa on big datalla ja perinteisellä datalla?, referred 17.10.2016.

Kuivaniemi, Olli (2016) S-ryhmä pohtii, voiko bonuskortin käyttäjä kieltää tarkkojen tietojen keräämisen omista ostoksistaan., referred 17.10.2016.

Lupton, Deborah (2016) The Quantified Self. Wiley. Available as an e-book.

Poikola, Antti – Laine, Markus Petteri – Kuikkaniemi, Kai (2014) Ihmiskeskeinen vai yrityskeskeinen ratkaisu henkilökohtaisen datan hyödyntämiseen?, referred 16.10.2016.

Poikola, Antti – Kuikkaniemi, Kai – Honko, Harri. My Data – A Nordic Model for human-centered personal data management and processing., referred 14.10.2016.

Ryynänen, Riitta (2016) K-ryhmä on kerännyt tietoja asiakkaiden ostoista jo vuosia., referred 17.10.2016.

S-kanava. Miten asiakastietoihin voidaan yhdistää ostotietoja?, referred 17.10.2016.