In the 21st century, you can easily find people saying that data is the new oil. Because, it is. Once you get on the internet, all you become is a source of data to the countless number of trackers fitted in each and every website, including this one.
These trackers are designed to collect data on what sites you visit, your location, what you like, what you dislike, what do you shop online, and so on. In fact, we have got gigantic companies built upon this idea.
Google and Facebook are one of those names that pop-up our minds. It’s no doubt many of Google services are offered for free, but it’s also true that Google needs to collect a lot of data to fuel its advertising business. After all, how the company is going to pay for their bread and butter?
The pain of data collection
Over the years, people have become more conscious about how and where their information is being shared. One of the most important aspects of data collection is money.
Maybe, deep down inside, people are affected by the reality that the their information could be used churned out cash, day and night after gobbling information from people and devices all over the world.
Next, comes privacy and security. We have also seen companies throwing dirt at each other in the name of privacy.
If a company wants your data, it needs to have proper infrastructure and policies to keep it safe from third parties. But we have seen companies loosing up on their policies in order to attract developers to their platform. And why go too far? The biggest example, we have is Facebook and the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Basically, that’s the tradeoff we have been living with for the past couple of decades – giving away information for free services. In the wake of recent privacy fire, companies have started to make changes to their products and services to make them more transparent. But it’s hard to decide whether it’s completely right or wrong. Still, users have the right to know what happens to their data.
Now that these services have matured, one possible solution is to have paid versions. You might have heard it many times and the tech giants have started to consider this. Recently, Google started promoting the paid version of YouTube. This could be a considerable solution for some users who won’t mind shelling out some cash.
How much your data is worth in dollars?
Surely, data collection has rung the bell across the across the globe. In the past, we have seen instances of companies offering money in return for sharing or the Brave browser giving incentive for watching ads. A more recent example is Facebook’s new app ‘Research‘ which gives money for sucking people’s data. This might make users care less, or at least, be okay with sharing their data.
The most recent reaction we are seeing is from the US government. As revealed in the show Axios on HBO, the US government is considering a bill that would force tech companies like Google and Facebook to tell users how much dollars their data is worth. Sounds interesting.
On Monday, US senators Mark Warner and Josh Hawley have plans to introduce the bill titled as Designing Accounting Safeguards to Help Broaden Oversight and Regulations on Data Act (DASHBOARD).
If it gets the green signal, users would get reports every 90 days on what data of theirs is being collected and how much is it worth. The bill covers those companies which turn data into cash and have more than 100 million monthly users.
So, it seems the bill is aimed at the big boys in tech. Also, such companies will have to disclose to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the aggregate value of the data collected from all the users every year.
According to Warner, data like location, relationship status, apps people use, age, etc. could be of around $5 in value per month for a user. It’s a debatable topic and others have estimated the number to be around $20 which is far greater. Of course, you shouldn’t expect any payout from the companies.
via Business Insider
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