In the continued examination of the role large technology companies play in our society, personal data has come into question. For Congress, data privacy is a top priority.
Last month, Senator Mark Warner, (D-VA) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) co-sponsored a bill that would require large internet companies to inform consumers exactly what personal data they collect. This is significant because data is a huge source of revenue for the so-called “tech giants.” This bill is asking that consumers be informed of the monetary value of their data.
On the heels of the historic FTC settlement that fined Facebook $5 billion dollars for violation of consumer privacy, the topic of personal data and its value is even more relevant. But this bill isn’t just dealing with privacy. Personal data can be used from everything to targeted advertising, directing online
In a Future Majority report published by The New York Times, independent economic advisory firm Sonecon estimated the average worth of an individual’s data was about $240 annually. Their study concluded the annual revenue from collecting personal data would be about $76 million in 2018.
However, that revenue is currently going to big tech companies with little or no oversight. These internet giants have a monopoly on the commodity of personal data they’ve collected — and they have the largest samples of it. The problem is, there’s no clear solution on how the “ownership” of this data should be distributed.
Like many of the “big-tech” issues Congress is currently tackling, privacy, oversight, and monopoly are at the forefront of the discussion on personal data. While there seems to be no clear resolution in sight, the bipartisan bill hopes to engage with large technology companies to create more transparency for the American consumer.