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Project description

Tools to gain control over our data

When browsing the internet or shopping online, users leave behind digital traces – information that is revealed to the sites visited. This is good for websites, which want to know as much as possible about their visitors to show them targeted ads or to improve user experience. The EU-funded PIMCITY project aims to boost transparency and provide users control over their data. The project is creating the tools: a PIMS development kit (PDK) to commoditise the complexity of creating a personal information management system (PIMS). It will also develop transparency tags (TT) to show users information about the e-services they access, and a personal data avatar (PDA) to help users control the information shared to third parties.


The Web economy has been revolutionized by unprecedented possibility of collecting massive amounts of user personal data, which lead the web to become the largest data market and created the biggest companies in our history. Unfortunately, this change has deep consequences for users, who, deprived of any negotiation power, are compelled to blindly provide their data for free access to services. Data collection is opaque, fragmented and disharmonic, so that users have no control over their personal data, and, thus, on their privacy. Personal Information Management Systems (PIMS) aim to give users back control over their data, while creating transparency in the market. However, so far, they have failed to reach business maturity and sizeable user bases.
PIMCity offers tools to change this scenario. First, we implement a PIMS development kit (PDK) to commoditize the complexity of creating PIMS. This lowers the barriers for companies and SME to enter the web data market. Second, we design and deploy novel mechanisms to increase users' awareness: (i) the Transparency Tags (TT) show users essential information about the services they access, in a simple and easy to understand manner; (ii) the Personal Data Avatar (PDA) is an intuitive means for users to control the information shared to third parties. Third, we demonstrate the effectiveness of the above tools by engineering EasyPIMS, our fully-fledged PIMS. We commit to build the largest-ever transparent data marketplace implementing and demonstrating EasyPIMS with hundreds of thousands of end-users, collaborating with advertisers and operators in the web market.
We strongly believe that an open market for data will only flourish if we stop the arms race between users and services. For this, we involve advertisers and end-users in the whole process. PIMCity has all these players in our consortium, along with leading IT companies and data providers, renowned research centres and universities, and SMEs already in the market of PIMS.

Call for proposal


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Net EU contribution
€ 553 803,45
Corso duca degli abruzzi 24
10129 Torino

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Nord-Ovest Piemonte Torino
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00

Participants (15)