RUMPEL, a ground-breaking hyperdata web browser that makes it simpler for people to access and use online data about themselves, is being rolled out to the public this month.
RUMPEL gives users the ability to browse their very own private and secure ‘personal data wardrobe’ – called a HAT (Hub-of-all-Things) – which collates data about them held on the internet (eg on social media, calendars and their own smartphones, with the possibility of also including shopping, financial and other personal data) and allows them to control, combine and share it in whatever way they wish.
Developed at WMG, University of Warwick, with Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funding, internet users can now try out RUMPEL when they get their own HAT. You can sign up to get a HAT and use RUMPEL at the HAT Foundation website.
The first of its kind, this new browser makes it easy to visualise, understand and organise all kinds of personal data, much of which has been hard to access in the past. Plans are under way to include automated and personalised suggestions, prompts and reminders based on users’ needs, habits and lifestyles – for example, prioritising news-feed items based on your interests, or helping to inform decisions about what concert or movie to see taking into account where exactly you are and what you have enjoyed previously.
RUMPEL’s development has been part of the overall Hub-of-All-Things (HAT) initiative, a £1.2 million Research Councils UK digital economy project, involving six UK universities – Warwick, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Nottingham, Surrey and the University of the West of England – plus a host of industry partners and advisors including Dyson, Arup and GlaxoSmithKline.
Professor Irene Ng of WMG, University of Warwick, who has led RUMPEL’s development, says: “It’s time for people to claim their data from the internet. The aim of RUMPEL is to empower users and enable them to be served by the ocean of data about them that’s stored in all kinds of places online, so that it benefits them and not just the businesses and organisations that harvest it. The strapline ‘Your Data, Your Way’ reflects our determination to let people lead smarter lives by bringing their digital lives back under their own control.”
RUMPEL is compatible with all computer Operating Systems and it excludes all third parties, advertisements and ‘hard selling’. It is also being made available as an open source programme, under Mozilla Public License managed by the HAT Community Foundation and available here.
Professor Ng comments: “We want to get thousands of people all over the world to try out RUMPEL and experience for themselves how it can help them make better decisions, save them time and save them money by exchanging their personal data in a privacy-preserving manner. We hope this initial roll-out is just the first step in a process that puts people right at the heart of the internet in future.”