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Data commerce market

Tech

Published by:

6 October 2020

Author: Kathryn Bishop

Image: Microsoft rebranding by Microsoft and Tendril

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People are regaining control of their data through a new digital economy that has the potential to benefit both individuals and their local community

The pursuit of data and the brokering of personal information between companies, agencies and individuals has become a modern-day gold rush.

Unlike the speculators of the past, however, a number of organisations have recognised that the monetisation of data can be of benefit to more than just businesses. Turning personal information into a new economy, such data can positively help not only individuals but also wider communities.

With the potential to shape everything from public transport to health, the data commerce market is driving a future in which people once again will control their personal information. ‘Within the next three to five years, every consumer will own all of their information and get compensation for that information,’ says Chris Miglino, CEO of SRAX, a digital marketing and consumer data management platform.

Anonymity economy

According to Pew Research Center81% of US adults feel that they have little or no control over how their data is being used by companies, while 59% say they have little or no understanding of how their data is used by businesses once collected.

A sense of trust and privacy has been entirely eroded, leaving many people feeling vulnerable about the data footprints they are leaving – something the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California’s new Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) aim to remedy. Furthermore, companies are worried not only about the data they hold and people opting out of its sale or otherwise asking for it to be deleted, but also the penalties they face for misuse.

In response, a number of start-ups are seeking to circumnavigate regulations by providing people with greater access and control of their personal data, and payment for however much of it they’d like to share.

One example, OzoneAI, grants users complete anonymity and granular control of their viewing, listening or social habits, which they can share with advertisers in return for payment. This means users can be paid to share their Spotify playlists or even give a company total access to their social media accounts; as they are paid the company gets data to help drive targeted advertising. In turn, OzoneAI gets a 30% cut from the business it brokers.

Apeel Sciences
'You are anonymised [but] the fact that you watched The Avengers five times last week is not – you are selling that directly'
Lyndon Oh and Ben Colman, co-founders, OzoneAI

From data to dollars

Recent research published by Raconteur reveals that, around the world each day, 500m tweets are posted and 294bn emails are sent (sources: Twitter, Radicati Group). Altogether in 2020, the entire digital universe is expected to reach 44 zettabytes (source: PwC). Unsurprisingly, there is growing space for companies to help people better comprehend the amount of data they are producing each day, its potential value in currency terms, as well as their own behavioural patterns.

Shaping this new value economy is Datacoup. Dubbed ‘the world’s first personal data marketplace’, it works in a similar vein to OzoneAI by empowering users to sell anonymous data for cash. Its USP, however, is that it pulls together data shared or collected by users’ mobile apps – for example, their spending habits, Instagram likes and places they visit – in one place. With this information, Datacoup builds a profile for each user that shows off his or her data value. Users can then redeem money earned – from £3.83 ($5, €4.49) to £19.17 ($25, €22.45) – when their data is purchased by a company.

In a bid to create a more positive balance between people and businesses that use their data, the CitizenMe app simplifies data-sharing and market research, working with companies such as Wolff Olins, OMD and International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF) to broker data. Its colourful dashboard gives users the option to ‘donate’ data to charities, earn money in exchange for opinions and better understand their own personality traits – and the appeal of their data footprint for organisations – through simple graphs.

Empowered communities

Elsewhere, the growing data commerce market is empowering citizens by giving them the control to share data in order to positively shape their cities and local public services. Francesca Bria, the city of Barcelona’s chief technology and digital innovation officer, is the driving force behind the Decode project, one initiative giving communities the power to share information for the public good.

The project, piloted in Amsterdam and Barcelona, lets citizens decide what they want to keep private, share, with whom and on what basis. Through this, Decode hopes to inspire innovators, start-ups, NGOs, cooperatives and local communities to use the shared data to build apps and services that respond to their needs and those of the wider community. Among its pilot projects was a data-collecting platform for Barcelonans, allowing them to anonymously monitor temperature, noise and pollution on their homes’ balconies, and let the data be collected, analysed and shared through the Decode’s BCNNow platform.

 

Screenshot 2020-09-29 at 12.42.05

 

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