Your Data Has Value And You Control That Data. What Choices Do You Need To Make?

In the last blog post, we wrote about value considerations of personal data. We know that some data are worth more during individual transactions and that some data will be requested more regularly, for example. Also, data buyers are affected by the number of individuals in the data pool and by any joint owners such as governments who are the creators of many personally identifiable data points like driver’s license numbers.

With this knowledge, what considerations should individuals think about when giving consent for their data to be sold? Here are a few questions to ask:

  1. How comfortable am I with the buyer of my data? Decentralized, blockchain-based identity systems will ensure that users can anonymize their data so this is a question of end results, not of security. Even if you’re comfortable that your social media usage data can’t be traced back specifically to you, do you want that data to be used by companies that are trying to sway political opinions? Similarly, you may want to sell medical data if it’s being used by researchers to find a cure for a disease or you may not want to sell that same data if you feel that pharmaceutical companies will use the data to make treatments rather than cures. Also, it’s possible as an individual you may not know how the data will be used, or who’s buying it. You may only know what data are being purchased. Notice that these scenarios involve personal ideologies and not just financial decisions about how much the buyer is willing to pay.
  2. Do I want to share value with the data creators? As mentioned in the last post, most of our data are co-created. Hospitals and doctors take medical histories, so the data about us medicine usage etc. wouldn’t exist in any usable form if not for the intake process at the hospital. Similarly, airlines co-create itineraries with us when we fly, so our travel history data aren’t ours alone. If we sell data that was co-created then those collaborators may be deserve a portion of the price. Of course, individuals get nothing for their data now so this may not seem like a big issue, but maybe you think those collaborators already got compensated and you don’t want them to get more — even if it means you don’t sell that data.
  3. Am I willing to treat my data portfolio like a stock portfolio? It’s possible to simply check off a list of what kinds of data you’re willing to sell and what kinds you won’t sell. But it’s also likely that as your circumstances change you may also change your opinions about what data you will make available. For example, maybe as your wealth rises you decide there’s a better return for your purchase history now. Or as your health improves that there is less value in your current medical records. Perhaps you have new data that weren’t available before and you need to proactively decide if you’re willing to add that data to your available pool. This all means that you need to constantly re-evaluate what data you’ve consented to sell so you can revoke that consent or give consent for new data. This requires you to monitor your data in ways that you haven’t in the past, and there’s a time cost of that monitoring.

These are some of the considerations and there likely will be more as the market evolves. Control over our data is an exciting goal, but one that comes with extra decisions and more needed awareness. It’s best to educate yourself on potential options as you explore blockchain-based identity and data marketplaces.

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Warm regards,

The PikcioChain Team