Facebook has been embroiled in controversies regarding user privacy for all of 2018. Other tech companies can learn a lot from these events. Firstly, how to serve customers properly, and secondly how to prevent losing customers. Microsoft is working on improving its data management with a new research operation called Project Bali.
Microsoft has largely escaped the kind of controversy Facebook and Google have faced, but still several aspects of Windows 10 privacy have been called into questions. Facebook's situation suggests users are willing to ditch a service eventually if their privacy is not protected.
Project Bali aims to give users more control over their personal data. Microsoft describes it as a personal data bank
The solution would allow individual users to aggregate their personal data across websites and services into a single location. Microsoft does not detail which websites are supported currently. However, the goal is clearly to allow Project Bali to act as a single area for data from multiple services.
Within the data bank, users will be able to see what data is being held. Moreover, Microsoft eventually wants users to have more control. For example, users will be able to edit data, share it, and even monetize it. That last feature suggests users may be able to sell their information to advertisers.
That's an interesting concept. We all know companies like Google and Facebook allow advertisers access to user data, so ads can be individually targeted. If Microsoft gives this bargaining power to users, would companies like Facebook and Google be affected? Would those companies want to allow support of Project Bali?
At this early stage, Project Bali only works through an access code. It is also worth noting Microsoft has yet to officially announce this project, which suggests it is still firmly in the research and development stage.
As it stands, Project Bali is available here as a private beta.