Are we entering an age of self-servitude to the large application providers or data monopolies ?

Michael Queralt
Feb 25, 2019 · 2 min read

That data is the new oil is no longer in discussion[1]. That data monopolies are being created with the capacity to control innovation and drive user behavior is understood and seems to be accepted.

The arrogance of organizations to gather user data covertly continues to be displayed by daily leaks or announcements of their activities and their dismissive responses;

NY governor orders probe into Facebook access to data from other apps

Google says not disclosing the microphone in its Next home security device was an ‘error’

So I wonder — what if: what would the reaction be if organizations would use and sell the crops that have been grown by farmers, but the organizations never compensate such farmer ? would it be fair ?

Based on current activities around the digital economy — The organizations argument could be; “ we provide and sell the tractors that they use, and in the terms and conditions of our agreement; the farmers consent for the organization to gain access to any activity that they perform with our tools and to the crops they produce. All in an effort to improve the product and future offerings for farmers.”

Would the response be different from the politicians ? would the laws change as society may define such actions as theft ? so why not the same level of outrage and protection for user generated data ?

In the digital world, users are data farmers ; they create the data components with their daily activities. Application providers are the sellers or providers of the tools that the farmers use and they capture the data that has been created by individuals, which unbeknownst to them is being harvested and sold by the application providers.

Decentralization of identities and digital wallets will have an impact on the current models, but one way to start addressing this issue is to ensure that there is clear consent from the user — not just an acknowledgement of a legalese terms and conditions document, but an understanding of how their data is being captured, aggregated and transacted.

GDPR and CCPA are a steps towards a solution, but only if they are being properly enforced, otherwise our path towards a lifelong servitude to large data monopolies and medieval darkness on innovation will only be broken by decentralized models that obfuscate identities, create transparency and deliver on clear consent agreements before data points are captured and shared.

Organizations would be well served by understanding the regulations and the undercurrents from their users; as the increase frustration on how they disregard their privacy and data may affect their business, either by regulation or new business models that will upend their current strategies.


Written by

Entrepreneur with over 30 years of experience.Bridging business and technology — focused on digital identity, authentication , privacy & access—

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade