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The world is responding to the growing importance of personal data and identity. This response is reshaping the world’s markets.

Regulatory, technological, cultural, and economic factors are shifting the context of personal data and identity: the what, when, why, who, where, and how. In light of these shifts, we’re witnessing the nature of personal data and identity change—i.e., the definition or lack thereof.

We are seeing shifts in personal data control, i.e., from organizations to individuals. As a result of the Internet of Things (IoT) use, AI, and other technical advancements, personal data is exponentially growing in scope and scale. Many stakeholders are waking up to the value of personal data—not just the idea that it is the “new black gold” but something entirely different; that it is a non-rivalrous, non-depleting, regenerative asset.

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And finally, we’re seeing an explosion of people-centric regulations rolling out—by 2024, according to Gartner, 75% of the world’s population will be endowed with rights under one or more of these regulations, and organizations will be held accountable to a myriad of new obligations. This all means that we are witnessing the birth of the “personal data and identity meeting of the waters” and a new economy, the personal information economy, where individuals will have a legit seat at the economic table for personal data and identity.

This report, the “MEF Market Report: Personal Data and Identity Meeting of the Waters,” provides a detailed overview of what’s happening to and with personal data and identity, why you should care, and what you—all of us—should consider doing to harness the power of personal data and identity responsibly. We hope that this report is used as a guide to help us come together to:

  • Rebuild trusted relationships by inviting individuals to the table

  • Educate and empower all actors

  • Shape and reshape new and existing personal data and identity policies, frameworks, laws, and regulations

  • Attack cybercrime and enhance data stewardship practices

  • Lobby to address market failures and support people-centric infrastructure as a public utility

  • Consider interoperable technology standards and protocols

  • Envision new and evolved business models

The MEF Personal Data and Identity working group welcomes your feedback and contribution. Please get in touch with Michael Becker at if you’d like to get involved.