Thinking inside the box
It seems everyone is much more aware these days of the amount of data about themselves that’s floating around the internet. What if, instead of entrusting your data to faceless companies operating in ‘the cloud’ you stored it all at home in a jar?
That’s the idea behind a new experimental project from BBC R&D.
The BBC Box
stores all the personal information needed to run your accounts on third-party services like Spotify or Instagram. If those services, or anyone else, wants that data, they need your permission to access the box each time.
This kind of centralised data pot could easily exist in the cloud. In fact, it would be much easier for everyone (including the owner of the data) if it did. But the physical box serves a purpose of making the user rethink their relationship with their data. Just as you might keep precious jewellery in a box in a drawer in your bedroom, the BBC Box encourages you to think of your data as something worth keeping physically close and safe.
The BBC will continue to explore use cases for the Box, but don’t expect it to become a commercial product any time soon. That’s okay though — as a conceptual piece of thought-provoking technology, it’s incredibly inspiring. And for now, maybe that’s enough.