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A team from Bangor University has been funded by the UK Government to work on a project aimed at giving citizens more control of their personal data. The project is to be carried out in partnership with Anglesey company Cufflink, an Anglesey company developing tools for users to better control their personal information.

The Bangor team, consisting of Prof. Vian Bakir and Prof. Andrew McStay, aims to identify the ethical issues around systems that store personal data, as well as how best to place users on a level footing with those systems.

“It’s great to be working with Cufflink on this. With the modern world being based on personal data about people, it’s time we made sure that personal data works for people, not against them. We’re looking forward to finding out what Cufflink’s app can mean for the average citizen who has better things to do than read lengthy T&Cs,” said Prof. McStay.

Cufflink’s app is effectively a virtual safe for personal data, allowing the user to choose what information they want to allow sharing for. For businesses, Cufflink advertises the app as a way of ensuring that they are legally compliant when they store customer information. The company recently won the Cyber Start-up Award at the Wales Start-Up Awards 2020.

“By collaborating with world-leading authorities on data privacy and ethics from Bangor University, we aim to help people be both safer, and wiser when it comes to sharing their personal information online,” said Cufflink CEO Billy Williams.

The research team intends to investigate the value of personal data storage apps like Cufflink. They will do so by analysing them and their competitors, analysing apps and data protection law, interviewing policy makers, and using surveys and focus groups to evaluate the opinions of UK citizens.

The project is expected to cost approximately £480,000 in total, with funding provided to Bangor by Innovate UK, a government-funded innovation agency.

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