Details have emerged for how residents in Saudi Arabia’s Neom will be able to control the use of their personal data, including trading it for rewards.
Neom Tech & Digital Company, the organisation responsible for the IT infrastructure for the futuristic planned city, is developing a consent management platform, M3LD, that will understand who is in possession of a user’s data, monitor how it is being used, and provide recommendations on privacy settings across an individual’s digital accounts.
Artificial intelligence (AI) aims to demystify complex privacy terms and conditions and the system will alert users if data is used without consent, if suspicious activity arises, or there is a data breach.
Joseph Bradley, CEO, Neom Tech & Digital Company, said: “M3LD will place data ownership back in the hands of users and restore trust in the data economy. Today, trust is fundamental. Without trust, there is no data. Without data, there is no value. M3LD gives subscribers the benefit of transparency and, if a user agrees, a way to benefit from providing consent to use of their personal data.”
The US$500 billion Neom project is central to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s drive to diversify Saudi Arabia’s economy. According to marketing materials, Neom will showcase the future of everything from energy to retail and education. It will also feature a car-free, road-free district called ‘The Line’.
Data will be key to the operation of the 26,500-square kilometre development.
Bradley has previously been quoted as saying that while smart cities currently make use of about one percent of available data, Neom’s operating system Neos will use as much as 90 percent.
He told ZDNet last year: “If you come to Neom, clearly you want to participate in a highly digital experience. If you’re comfortable with that, we want to say: ‘Do you want to be able to fully experience Neom? If yes, then go for it’.”
Currently being developed with unnamed select data controllers, M3LD is slated for general release in the first quarter of 2023. An M3LD subscription will give users control over what commercial entities do with their data, as well as customisation of privacy consent profiles according to data and usage types.
Once integrated within Neom, M3LD will launch externally and be available to users in global markets, Su Le, Chief Digital & Strategy Officer, Neom Tech & Digital Company, told capitaltribunenews.com.
He said: “Profiles will be stored in one place, enforced universally and managed through a single account. The platform will also provide an opportunity for users to be incentivised through the M3LD Incentive Network.”
Through this data marketplace users will be able to accept rewards from third parties in exchange for use of their personal data with consent.
Le explained: “For example, user location data is both sensitive data and valuable data that could unlock a wide range of services such as transportation services, tourist guidance, pandemic control outbreak measures and others. However, users have different preferences regarding sharing their location data. M3LD will allow users to set those preferences in terms of what services they want their location data to be shared with, the context of why they are sharing that data and how long they want to share their location data.”
Neom Tech & Digital Company said it is investing almost US$1 billion this year in AI-driven products and hyperconnected and autonomous solutions to “enable the next generation of cognitive enterprises and cities”.
The company also announced XVRS, a digital twin metaverse platform for Neom.
Bradley said: “XVRS is the only iteration of the metaverse currently in development that will be a mixed-reality, 3D digital twin of a physical place – in our case, the Neom community. It will be comprised of next-generation digital assets that users can interact with in the real world.”
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