New technologies for an effective control and use of personal data on the web

Title of the research project

PIMCity: Building the next generation personal data platforms

Scientific area 

Telecommunications, Computer Science, Big Data


PIMcity will design, build, validate and demonstrate a system of easy-to-use components to make up a PIMS – Personal Information Management Systems – development kit at the service of final users and internet commercial or advertising services.

Description of the research project 

The web economy has been revolutionized by unprecedented possibility of collecting massive amounts of personal data to be used for commercial purpose. This change has deep consequences for users, who, deprived of any negotiation power, are compelled to blindly provide their data for free access to online services.

Personal Information Management Systems (or PIMS) are systems that allow individuals to get back control over their personal data. Using PIMS, it is possible to manage personal data in secure storage systems and share them when and with whom we choose.  Providers of online services and advertisers will need to interact with the PIMS if they plan to exploit individuals’ data. This can enable a better control of personal information and new business models. For the PIMS approach to succeed for individuals and the market, it is crucial to experiment more intensely and efficiently different PIMS models.

PIMCity project will build, validate, demonstrate and test easy to use components in a PIMS development kit, accelerating the quest of the right PIMS to obtain a fair and transparent web data economy. Two different demonstrators will be developed: one addresses final users (B2C) and one to companies (B2B). In order to target this result, PIMCity includes in the research consortium final users associations, publishers, technology companies to blend technological, legal and economic competences in a multidisciplinary RRI (Responsible Research and Innovation) oriented approach.

Impact on society

PIMCity project will provide trusted, fair, and regulation-compliant tools for building or extending Personal Information Management Systems. This effort will contribute in a decisive manner to the creation of new services for the secure sharing of personal data, toward a transparent online economy. The new instruments will be useful to citizens to become aware about online personal data and its value, to take control over what happens to their data, possibly allowing them to monetize it. At the same time, online advertisers will be incentivized to adapt their methods and workflows for rightfully and transparently collecting data about users’ interests.  The project will finally enable the emergence of transparent digital data markets.

Working group @Polito 

Marco Mellia, DET (Dipartimento di Elettronica e Telecomunicazioni) – Centro SmartData@PoliTO, Project coordinator

Martino Trevisan, DET (Dipartimento di Elettronica e Telecomunicazioni) – Centro SmartData@PoliTO, Project WP coordinator

Luca Vassio, DET (Dipartimento di Elettronica e Telecomunicazioni) Centro SmartData@PoliTO, Researcher

Tiziana Rolando, DET (Dipartimento di Elettronica e Telecomunicazioni) – Project manager


National and International partners 

NEC Laboratories Europe GmbH, Germany

Ermes Cyber Security SRL, Italy

Fundación IMDEA Networks, Spain

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain

Telefónica Investigación y Desarrollo SA, Spain

Fastweb SPA, Italy


Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium

Asociación de Usuarios de Internet, Spain

Interactive Advertising Bureau Europe, Belgium

Big Data Analytics SA, Argentina

CLIQZ, Germany


PIMCity project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under grant agreement No 871370

  • Budget: 5.240.000
  • Start date: 1/12/2019
  • End date: 31/05/2022