olia lialina: It is the #1 demand of the User Data Manifesto by ownCloud founder Frank Karlitschek http://userdatamanifesto.org/ "The data that someone directly or indirectly creates belongs to the person who created it." The manifesto suggests 7 further points to regulate the relation between users and clouds.
despens: Frank's follow-up points define this more clearly what exactly is meant, he uses "ownership" as metaphor for a combination of knowledge and control: It is possible to find out everything about "my" data and to define what happens with it, without being at the mercy of somebody else.
The manifesto's weakness is the spongy establishment of the user-data relation: "The data that someone directly or indirectly creates belongs to the person who created it." This makes the idea of ownership difficult, for example this could be an argument for DRM and surveillance architecture.
In my opinion, digital culture is practices, not artifacts. Why not discuss processes instead of objects like files or "data" (as a the "substance" that files or other digital objects are "made of"). Frank's manifesto would work better with ownership not as the foundation but the conclusion: Users should be able to *do* these seven things, if they can, we can call this ownership of data.