Only a cultural change will push consumers to reclaim personal data control, or this may be through monetizing opportunities. If you could get a share of the internet pie rather than just getting adverts served to you, then you may want to sell your data rather than give it away for free.
Several Internet startups have emerged that precisely claim to put users back in control of their private information, offering money to compensate users for the data they give away. The marketing pitch from companies like Yes Profile, Datacoup, or Handshake is that since your personal data is so valuable and often sold in your back, you may as well earn your share of it and decide what level of information you’ll sell away and to whom.
So these companies offer you to create an account where you share your personal data in more detail than you would accidentally give away over the web. In return, they’ll pay you some money for being able to sell your data to selected advertisers and companies.
These approaches don‘t really put you in control of your personal data, they are merely one way to monetize more of it through specific channels, echoing the 2003 music title “We Want Your Soul” from breakbeat DJ/producer Adam Freeland.
Selling genuine data from the source (user-certified) does not prevent data harvesting at all connection stages, though if this trend was to go global, it may just become more economical and practical for advertisers to access consumer data through these user-certified channels than to acquire it through data mining and recouping across many third-party services. Then again, once your private data has been sold, you lose sight of it and won’t know how it will be used and re-used.
This really falls short of being a user-centric data management solution, as the European project TAS3 (Trusted Architecture for Securely Shared Services), aimed to provide a few years ago, together with a legal framework.
Maybe to reclaim personal data, one must start from scratch, tediously addressing queries to “data removal sites” such as www.StopSelling.me or www.justdelete.me which offer links to delete your accounts from various companies -- some being rated as impossible to remove from.
This story originally appeared on EE Times Europe.