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[liberationtech] FT: Companies scramble for consumer data (personal data are so cheap... why bother to protect them)

ale fernandez skoria at
Sat Jun 15 08:24:08 PDT 2013

With all this talk of how snooping agencies and companies are trading people's data, wouldn't a citizen aggregated and voluntary free / creative commons database or similar be of value - perhaps at least as a way of reducing the value of all these data mining companies? 


On Sat, 15 Jun 2013 19:17:18 +0400
Alfonso De Gregorio <adg at> wrote:

> On Fri, Jun 14, 2013 at 10:48 PM, Yosem Companys <companys at> wrote:
> > From: Toon Vanagt <toon.vanagt at>
> >
> > I stumbled on this FT article with 'volume pricing' for personal data and a convenient estimation tool:
> >
> >
> > Basically, if you're a millionaire, your personal data is worth about $ 0.123 (if you're not, you start at: $ 0.007).
> >
> > The FT has build an interactive data value estimation tool. For example by adding ADHD to my profile I gained a stunning $ 0.200. Consider it extra money for 'salting data set' :)
> ...
> > Prices in the article & calculator seem very low and suggest that your 'personal data' are not really valuable to companies in a consumer society  That is if you're not obese, don't subscribe to a gym, don't own a plane... Due to competition the broker prices are said to trending towards 'worthless'.. Data brokers seem to suggest we should not bother to protect something of so little economic value...
> >
> > Let me know if my reading between the lines is wrong.
> When the number of market players is large, "competition only exerts
> weak pressure on prices" [1]. The reality is that in the today's
> information economy the price paid for raw material (i.e., personal
> data) is almost zero, because "it's the surveilled who are
> capitalizing the system and providing much of its labor" [2]. As
> remarked by Lanier, "budgets create moderation" [3] and retaining
> control over our personal data would drive the prices up.
> Cheers,
> Alfonso
> [1] Gabaix X., Laibson D., Li D., Li H., Resnick S., de Vries C. G.,
> "The Impact of Competition on Prices with Numerous Firms", Technical
> Report,
> [2] Geer Jr. D. E., "Identity as Privacy", IEEE Security & Privacy,
> Jan.-Feb. 2013, p. 96,
> [3] Lanier J., "Sell your data to save the economy and your future",
> BBC News,
> --
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