Should users be allowed to sell their own personal data?

Everyone questions what companies do with our data once they collect it.

We all know that every time we interact with a website or any platform on the web, data is generated by users who are then picked up by the same companies. After a global survey conducted by Ipsos, it was revealed that there are no less concerns. Indeed:

  • Nearly two-thirds of respondents said they did not know anything about the amount of data available to companies.
  • It is even two thirds also admitted to knowing nothing about what they do with its data.
  • The remaining third said they were confident that public and private institutions would use the data wisely.

It's as questions arise Following:

Should recognize the absolute ownership of personal data to users who generate them in such a way that they can dispose of them (sell or protect them according to their ability) as they see fit?

On the other side there are followers of this approach to data ownership Personal. In their view, personal data must belong to the users. It is up to these people to choose exactly what to do with it. some so, this is in accordance with the protection of their privacy and in the cases where they decide and they will still be able to benefit from this data, which somehow would not exist without them.

from on the other hand, critics of this position say something else entirely. According to them, this approach, which is to allow users to do what they want to give them the whole provision on them is dangerous for them themselves. Indeed, this would push them to move away from privacy to gain. Not to mention that the consideration will never be adequate in relation to sacrifices made.

Christopher Tonetti, associate professor of economics at the Graduate School of Business in Stanford University, meanwhile, supports the first thesis that consumers must have the opportunity to dispose of their own personal data. opposed to him there is Cameron F. Kerry, a visiting scholar at Brookings Institution and former General Counsel and Acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

For Christopher Tonetti, personal data is not goods that can be cashed in at any time. Why because everything the value does not decrease when used. And that's in relation to to this we must understand that users must be well-looking owners of their own personal data, which they have created themselves and whose resale must depend on their goodwill: "For most property – such as a sushi dish or an hour in your doctor's schedule – the fact to consume them means that there are fewer to offer. But the data indefinitely. The same data can be exploited simultaneously, without loss, by engineers in different entities and scientists at several universities. »

Moreover, it is better to make consumers themselves owner than to leave this data in the hands of the companies. "Allowing consumers to own and sell their personal data is also the trigger for innovators to address these issues. Many assets are difficult to value and sell, many transactions are complex, but when the benefits are significant, as is the case with the data, these difficulties can be overcome. Some fear that a financial incentive will cause consumers to give up their privacy even more than they already do. But it is a choice that the consumer should be free to make – what data deserves to be given away and at what price, and which not. Some companies already allow consumers to sell their data to competitors. We should make it a universal right," said Christopher Tonetti.

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