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WMG research empowers new foundation’s aim to revolutionise personal data by giving everyone a HAT

Irene Ng

A multi-disciplinary digital economy research project by WMG at the University of Warwick has developed a multi-sided market for personal data known as the HAT.

This will now be taken forward by a new HAT Foundation which aims to roll it out globally to revolutionise how we all handle the vast amounts of personal information we are simply pouring online using research developed at WMG at the University of Warwick.

WMG Professor Irene NG said:

“We hand over vast reams of personal data to online shopping and search engines, and the growing internet of things is about to create vast new databases of personal data which our own household possessions will hold and share with external suppliers and agencies.”

“Now is the time to wake people up to just how much personal data they pour online and empower them to use that data to benefit them as much as it’s benefiting the businesses that are harvesting it.”

“With the internet of things growing as a concept people need to get as much utility out of their own data as the product providers and utilities that will increasingly be taking that data.”

For the last two and a half years Professor Ng’s team in WMG, together with six other universities, have been researching the ideas and technology in a £1.2 million HAT (Hub-of-All-Things) research project, funded by the RCUK Digital Economy Programme. Working in conjunction with industry and commercial partners, the research project has developed a platform technology where individuals can keep all their personal data in one place.

Launching at 6:30pm on Tuesday 16 February at the University of Warwick’s base in the Shard, London, the research team will showcase the first-ever personal data platform created to perform all four key operations on personal data: collect, control, re-combine, contextualise and share our personal data that is privacy preserving.

Professor Ng explains:

“For example this will allow you to bring together data from your Google Calendar, Fitbit, social media, online shopping and even health data into the HAT. The data on your HAT is owned by you and can be recombined by you so that you can make it meaningful and useful for decision-making. The HAT is also a fully scalable personal data platform for firms to offer you services for your data in a privacy-preserving way, as well as allowing you to track and creatively organise your data for better informed decisions in your lives.”

“Most importantly, I believe that the HAT will start a movement for individuals to claim our personal data, as we believe it is now time for us to gain control of our digital lives and put ourselves, as individuals, at the centre of the growing data exchange in the sharing economy. We often think that we have to give up our privacy for online services but it doesn’t have to be. There is a better way that helps innovation in the economy as well as give us privacy and control of our data”

Going forward a HAT Foundation will develop the next phase of the technology taking over from the HAT research project team in WMG to roll-out the HAT globally in 2016. The Foundation will scale-up the HAT “ecosystem” and community of HAT users, to promote widespread take-up of HATs by individuals.

The HAT technology is open sourced and has been released under a Creative Commons license and the HAT Foundation will continue with that ethos to encourage more innovation on the HAT.

The HAT Foundation will be working closely with HAT platform providers globally and it intends to make a number of releases of HAT and HAT Apps during the first half of 2016 whilst engaging broad, worldwide support through a parallel crowdfunding campaign to roll out HATs globally. The crowdfunding campaign can be found at: (which will be live on the 16 Feb 2016)

You can find more information at

For further information or to register an interest in obtaining a press invitation to the launch event at the Shard contact:

Lisa Barwick, Head of Marketing and Communications,

WMG, University of Warwick

Tel: 024 76 524721 or 07824 540845



Peter Dunn, Director of Press and Policy,

University of Warwick, Tel UK: 024 76523708 office 07767 655860 mobile

Tel Overseas: +44 (0)24 76523708 office +44 (0)7767 655860 mobile/cell


PR30 PJD 8th February 2016

Tue 16 Feb 2016, 09:34 | Tags: Business Transformation Service Systems Research