Thursday, July 11, 2013

Who Owns Your Data

The classical view of freedom might best be understood as self-ownership.

The decades after the revolution produced strange new definitions of freedom. Many of the definitions appeared in the Hegelian tradition, which specifically sought to create paradoxes. Hegel loved to create proofs that showed freedom was slavery and slavery freedom.

I believe that we need to restore the idea of self ownership.

I happen to work in the data industry. Companies and governments spend trillions gathering information about people.

As a data dink, I am prone to ask the simple question: Who owns your personal data?

Our tradition is that the entity that collects the data owns the data. Your insurance company gathers information about you, and your insurance company owns the data. You file an annual tax return and the IRS owns all that data they collected. Your employer processes the payroll. Your employer owns that piece of data.

In this structure, third parties own all of the information, and people own very little about themselves.

In recent years, powerful entities have been linking all these disparate databases and creating a massive data structure which supports an inner ruling elite and that puts individual people at a disadvantage.

I've attacked the data question from the angle: How can we restructure things so that individuals own a great piece of their personal data. Please note, I am not speaking in absolutes.

The two pieces of information that I consider to be the most important are health care and income information.

I created two structures to help restore the concept of self-ownership. The Medical Savings and Loan is a technique for breaking insurance pools into individual accounts. In this system, each person has an individual account. All medical expenses flow from this account to the provider. Information about the expense flows back into the account.

The key to this reform is that individuals own their individual accounts. The Medical Savings and Loan creates a structure that gives individuals ownership over personal health care records.

Our incomes are tracked by employers who submit earnings data to the IRS. This creates a system in which employers and the IRS own our income data.

I created a reform called "The Object Tax." This reform is named after Object Oriented Programming. In this reform, we use Object Oriented Design to create a new interface for implementing the current tax code.

The Object Tax is not disruptive. The program creates an alternative mechanism for collecting taxes.

In this reform, the Treasury Department creates an abstract tax code that can be implemented as the current withholding system. The model can also be implemented by third party application service providers (ASPs).

The reform invites financial institutions (ASPs) to create more efficient models for collecting taxes. The ASPs will go through a rigorous testing and certification process to assure their products calculate the taxes correctly.

I envision a product that involves Tax Aware Accounts. These accounts execute the tax code when people move money in and out of the account.

There would be a large number of companies offering these tax aware accounts. People would have the choice of sticking with the current withholding system or moving to a Tax Aware Account hosted by a third party.

In the reform, there are hundreds of third parties hosting Tax Aware Accounts. These accounts both process and accumulate information about your income. The Object Tax creates a structure in which individuals have a greater degree of ownership over the information produced by the tax collection process.

We live in the information age. The way that information flows through our society is critical.

If we create a system in which people's medical and income data flow through accounts under their control, we can help restore the sense of self-ownership that was critical in the American Experiment.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Fail Into Freedom

There are growing signs that PPACA (aka ObamaCare) is failing. Costs are over predictions and the administration is being forced to push back implementation of key provisions of the plan until after the midterm election.

Many people seem to be rejoicing with the thought that failure of ObamaCare will magically lead to a restoration of the American Experiment in Self Rule.

I don't believe in magic. 

The rejoicers fail to realize that PPACA was designed, from the beginning, to fail into socialism.

When PPACA fails, the bureaucratic structure behind PPACA is organized to use the crisis to ceases even greater power.

One of the greatest tricks of the left is that they've learned to use government failure to expand the reach of government.

The only way to restore the American Experiment in Self Rule is for people in the freedom movement to develop strategies that will cause PPACA to fail into freedom.

Long ago, I developed a formula for unrolling group pools into individual accounts. I called the plan The Medical Savings and Loan.

This basic plan could be used to increase the odds of PPACA failing into freedom.

Unfortunately, the plan depends on there being people interested in preserving freedom for their children.

I live in Utah. I spent five years searching to find a group within 700 miles of Salt Lake with enough interest in preserving the American Experiment in Self Rule to spend an evening talking about free market health care reform.

Freedom works was in Salt Lake City last weekend. Matt Kibbe invited people to his site freedom connect to host events. So, I created an event for the Medical Savings and Loan. If anyone is interested, then I will give the presentation I developed.