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#30daysofdataownership

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One of the biggest parts of the IndieWeb is data ownership. It’s so important that there is a hashtag for it: #OwnYourData. Data ownership is one of the values that drives me to support the IndieWeb. I like to have as much control over my data as possible.

This does not mean that I want to build everything that I use for myself. It means that I prefer to use services that give me more control over the data I give them. That’s why I am comfortable using Exist.io. They make my data more portable. I can access meaningful datapoints through their API.

Owning My Data

The first big step I have taken to owning my data is setting up this personal website. I do not host the server myself but I have built the site from scratch. I own every piece of data that I share on this blog, from the photos to the text. This is a good first step, but there’s more that I can do.

That’s why I am setting myself a challenge to take more ownership over my data. Starting today, I am going to embark on a journey to take more control over my data.

The first challenge is for me to make a move from GitHub to sourcehut. I’ve had an account on sourcehut for a few weeks but I have not really done anything with it. I have recently decided that I want to use sourcehut as my primary source of version control.

I have spoken about this a bit in the past but I have a few problems with GitHub. It is more bloated than I need. GitHub is constantly adding new features and I assume that is because they are now owned by Microsoft and will have greater goals which they need to meet.

What’s more, GitHub is engaged in contracts with ICE with which I do not agree. Although I am based in the UK, I do not feel like I should be supporting a company that supports such ethically questionable companies. This is only a secondary reason for my transition: my disenchantment with GitHub’s user experience was what really moved the needle.

Motivation

I want to take ownership over my data for two reasons. The first is that I like to analyze and play around with my data. The more portable my data is, the more I can derive insights from it. That is why I’ve been working on building quantified self integrations for this blog 1.

I am also interested in taking ownership over my data so that I can make more ecological choices when I use the internet. Arguably the best way for me to reduce my carbon footprint would be to stop using the internet but that is really impractical. I feel like by taking ownership over my data I’ll have more of an insight into how my data is used and how it impacts the environment.

I listened to an episode of the IRL Podcast about the internet’s carbon footprint earlier today. This has me thinking about how I can measure the impact of my blog. Could I offset the environmental impact of my blog? Even thinking about this has encouraged me to remove a number of almost useless features on this site, such as my “printer-friendly” styles.

I’ll be reporting on what I am working on every day for the next 30 days (hopefully, if I keep the steam going)!

  1. I have removed my quantified self integrations until I can build a more robust and comprehensive system. I will have more updates on this in future days of the challenge. 

Permalink: https://jamesg.blog/2020/08/26/30daysofdataownership.html.

Category: IndieWeb Post

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