In the age of smartphones, free online services and targeted advertising
, most of us are (at least to some degree) aware that we are constantly being tracked. Our smartphone provider knows our location at any time, Amazon knows what we bought last summer, not to mention Google and Facebook
, who probably know more about us than most of us would be comfortable with.
In fact, most “free” online services aren’t actually free. We just pay for them in a different currency, the currency of the 21st century: our personal data. For many years, most people were ok with this tradeoff. Social media was new and exciting, smartphones were all the rage, and really what’s the worst that can happen? Following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, however, the tide began to turn, and more and more people started to question whether online platforms can really be trusted with personal information.
According to a NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey
conducted in March 2019, 60 percent of Americans do not trust Facebook at all to protect their personal information, and an astonishing 74 percent of the respondents think the tradeoff between giving away personal information in exchange for free usage of social media services is no longer acceptable.
It seems like many people realize that they sold their personal data short for a long time but are no longer willing to do so. Demands for some sort of tax that charges data-driven tech companies for the use of personal information are getting louder, but how do you put a price on personal data? Morning Consult
recently conducted a survey, asking Americans to evaluate several pieces of personal information. Asked what price they’d charge a company for access to items such as the mailing address, credit history or banking information, consumers revealed what experts deem unrealistic views of what their data is worth. Instead of $50, the median price the respondents put on their address for example, “it’s going to be more likely cents and pennies,” Jeff Greenfield, chief operating officer and co-founder of advertising technology company C3 Metrics Inc., said to Morning Consult.