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The Coming Political Fight over Personal Information and Who Owns those Data

Robert explores the emerging question of whether the data are people’s personal property and examines the responses to the new business model based on monetizing people’s personal information. Watch the highlights and request access to the full video and slides.

A new business model around personal data

Technological advances always produce unanticipated economic value, and the internet is no exception. Many examples represent more efficient ways of doing what people and companies were already doing; others represent new activities with new value or such profound transformations of existing activities that they’re effectively new.

Beyond these developments, the internet also provides the basis for a radical new business model, one embodied in Facebook and Google but also an integral part of most companies with an internet presence. This new business model is the collection, organization, analysis, and monetization of the personal data from everyone who visits or uses most websites.

What are these data worth?

We developed a model to estimate their value to platforms such as Facebook and Google, data brokers and credit card companies, internet service providers and mobile search engines, as well as the economic value of personal information to the people and families the data describe.

Are data people’s personal property?

Given the substantial and fast-growing value of these data, we will also explore the emerging question of whether the data are people’s personal property or belong to the companies that use their resources to collect, organize, analyze and rent or sell them. Finally, in this context, we will examine the emerging political and policy responses to the new business model based on monetizing people’s personal information.

This presentation was held at the RavenPack Research Symposium in New York on September 10, 2019.

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