Law could make companies say how much your data is worth 9to5Google

A bipartisan push for a new US law could see companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon having to state exactly how much your data is worth.

Consumers would be better able to understand how much privacy they were sacrificing to use free services if the value of the data used by the companies was made explicit …

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The proposed law was first revealed by Axios.

Senators Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) will introduce legislation on Monday to require Facebook, Google, Amazon and other major platforms to disclose the value of their users’ data […]

Two decades ago, consumers made a bargain — we traded our data in exchange for using “free” sites like Facebook, Instagram, Google, YouTube and Twitter. Warner says he wants consumers to be more informed about the real value of what they give up in the form of, for example, location data, relationship status, data about the apps we use, our age, gender and lifestyle.

“These companies take enormous, enormous amounts of data about us… If you’re an avid Facebook user, chances are Facebook knows more about you than the U.S. government knows about you. People don’t realize one, how much data is being collected; and two, they don’t realize how much that data is worth.”

At the moment, no-one knows for sure just how much your data is worth to these companies, but an analysis last year suggested that for Facebook, it was somewhere in the $7/month range as an overall average. However, for more affluent users, it would be $11-14 per month.

Facebook is actively considering the possibility of offering a paid subscription which would remove all ads from newsfeeds, but Zuckerberg has said that there will always be a free option.

The new law would apply to companies with more than 100M monthly active users, and would include GDPR-style privacy options.

The legislation will be introduced Monday as the Designing Accounting Safeguards to Help Broaden Oversight and Regulations on Data Act, or DASHBOARD for short.

  • The bill would require companies that generate material revenue from data collection or processing — and have more than 100 million monthly users — to disclose to users the types of data collected, how it is used, and to provide an assessment of the value of that data once every 90 days.
  • It would require these companies to disclose annually to the Securities and Exchange Commission the aggregate value of all of their users’ data. The report would have to include details of contracts with third parties for data collection, how revenue is generated by user data, and measures taken to protect that data.
  • The bill would direct the SEC to develop methods for calculating the value of user data, accounting for varying uses, sectors, and business models.
  • Companies must provide a setting or tool for users to delete all or part of their data.

Warner is also planning to introduce a separate bill requiring companies to ‘make data portable,’ so that it would be easier to switch platforms – for example, from one social network to another.

Photo: Shutterstock


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