- Microsoft is quietly working on a project codenamed "Bali," which could give users much more control over their personal data.
- Bali was first spotted by a Twitter user, and reporters then found what looked like the project's website.
- The website described Bali as a "new personal data bank which puts users in control of all data collected about them."
- When Business Insider tried to access the site, it had vanished.
Microsoft is working on a research project which could give customers vast control over their personal online data.
Microsoft has been quietly testing the idea and even launched a beta website, according to reports. It comes at a time when privacy is high on the agenda following a series of scandals, including Facebook's Cambridge Analytica data breach last year.
Reporters first got wind of the project from a tweet. Twitter user "Longhorn" said on Wednesday: "Microsoft Bali is a project that can delete all your connection and account information (inverseprivacyproject). It's currently in private beta still."
ZDNet journalist Mary Jo Foley then found what looked like the Bali website. The site reportedly required a code to sign in, but visitors could request a code. PC Magazine also appears to have visited the site, but when Business Insider followed the link, the website failed to load.
Foley reported that Bali's "about" page described itself as a "new personal data bank which puts users in control of all data collected about them... The bank will enable users to store all data (raw and inferred) generated by them. It will allow the user to visualize, manage, control, share and monetize the data."
It also cited the concept of "inverse privacy," a paper published by Microsoft researchers in 2014. It's the idea that someone else has access to your online data, but you don't.
Business Insider contacted Microsoft for comment.
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