Related to the previous post, one way I follow news around the right to be forgotten, and the larger topic of data privacy, is using Google news alerts. Not a great research system, instead a little like mining for gold: most days they deliver a whole lot of dirt, mostly from obscure sites.

Then there are the little nuggets that occasionally show up.

Like this press release from a UK start up that promises to “give people back ownership of their personal data online”.

Ok, tell me more.

The company is called Mine (no irony there) and the founders just completed a funding round where they raised €2.7 million (about $3.5 million USD).1 Which immediately leads to the question, how do they plan to make enough money to give those investors the return they’re expecting?

As with most newly-funded startups, they don’t directly address the concept of profit. But they do present a little about how their “product” works.

Mine works by using non-intrusive machine learning algorithms that unlock the power in users’ email inboxes, looking for digital traces that companies have left through previous or on-going relationships with them. Mine does this without processing or collecting any personal data related to the user. In fact, Mine never reads, collects or stores any email content (or holds any individuals’ data) and is committed to using the absolute minimum information in order to provide its service.

Questions in the back: how do you analyze email data without actually reading it? Or collecting any personal data? And what the hell are “non-intrusive machine learning algorithms”?

Anyway, as with most of this kind of writing, the page contains lots of hype and promises, and little real information. The company is currently focused on working with EU residents and the European GDPR regulations. But their ambition is to create a “world-wide standard”, so it might also show up on this side of the Atlantic.

Ok, so not a major story. Or likely anything that anyone who stumbles into this space might care about.

Just a wee bit of interesting-to-me sparkly stuff that may or may not turn out to be gold. Or radioactive?

The photo shows the snowy entrance to the Hope-Katy mine complex in Basin, Montana from Wikimedia Commons. No idea what they extracted at that location but a dark tunnel with no clue what lies beyond seemed appropriate for this post.

1. Another weird/interesting side note about one of the venture firms providing the cash. It is owned by the Israeli billionaire who also produced the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Make your own jokes.