Interview with Monique Morrow, President & Co-Founder The Humanized Internet, former CTO at Cisco

We talked with Monique Morrow (President & Co-Founder The Humanized Internet) about her project ‘The Humanized Internet’, digital identities and how we can take back control of our data. Enjoy reading.

Monique, what is the idea behind your project “The Humanized Internet”? What is your message?

Monique Morrow: I have three messages:

1. One very big message is around the liberty of identity. We should all have control over our identity and countries should recognize that identity. At this moment 10 million people are not recognized because they don’t have control over their identity. Imagine you live in a country where there is war, and you have to leave immediately. Or imagine all your stuff got lost in an earthquake or fire. Most people leave with nothing. I would think: I have my important documents in my Google drive, so I will be fine. But immigration officers do not recognize these documents in digital form. You have to have the original documents. Since I am also President and Co-Founder of the Humanized Internet, my first message is: we have to change the system; identity that corresponds to being member of nation state should be portable – because without identity you’re nothing.

2. My second message is about the question: are you in control over your identity, and do you care? Everyday a lot of identities get hacked via Facebook and Google, a lot of people think: ‘that won’t happen to me’, or ‘it is already too late’. I think it’s not too late. I can imagine that we all have our own digital box with all our important personal things – private and professional – in it. You choose what you share with whom. For example with the doctor I trust, or researchers. And this system should be completely transparent. When these dynamics change Google for example should pay me in the future, because they’re using my data.

3. My last message is about what ethics look like in technology. Does ethics carry value? As individuals we are all being profiled through technology. Take smart homes for example: these electronic products are listening, watching you. But who is listening? The potential for misuse is very strong. I want people to be aware of their use of these wonderful technologies.

How can it become possible for people to be able to make decisions about their own data?
Monique Morrow: I am also President of the VETRI Foundation and at VETRI we believe that people should be the owners of their data. There is a growing Data Market place where the frictionless exchange of data between data owners and data consumers is requires. Our thesis is that the consumer needs to be in the center of this universe and must be able to share what he/she would like to share. I think the notion of “Fair Data” service mark that my colleagues at VETRI are working on is a way forward especially for enterprise companies. Think in terms of the analogy of Fair Trade itself. It does not take much for a brand to be tainted because of data misuse/abuse.

See also:

At the moment, the handling of “private” data by companies and countries is very non-transparent, making misuse easier. How can this situation be changed?
Monique Morrow: See response above.

We have multiple identities, private, professional, and yes the on-line identities – YOU Become the product. In the midst of the “Internet of Nouns“ (see also Ann Greenberg, CEO Entertainment AI) the boundaries are blurring between that which is human and that which pulsates information. That information becomes a product and we become the product. However, are we cognizant about how information about us is used? Do we care? Our identities carry currency and perhaps we should be paid accordingly. We do not need to look too far back in history to witness the abuse of our identities and yet the stakes are higher now than ever before. Are we in CONTROL? Are you in the center of that universe? Is it too late to be in the center? Who do YOU trust?
If we are the product then pay up – but with the caveat that the data owner must control how the data should be used and by which parties.

So far you have generated many interesting projects, received many accolades, held the position of CTO at Cisco; in your experience, which attributes are especially important to become successful in the IT/Tech industry?
Monique Morrow: For me it’s about focus and embedding social good in the process. Whilst I am honored to have received industry accolades, I am most inspired by the people creating positive impact in our society and there are many leaders working tirelessly to make our world a better place.