Privacy, an Opportunity for a New Economy

The internet has made information, entertainment, and communication more readily accessible than at any point in history.  Each day the reach of the internet and its benefits grow.  The economic models that drove down the perceived cost of the internet have driven this growth.  

Early economic models were based on "walled gardens" in which users paid fees to access information aggregated by an internet service provider.  Google came along and blew that model up by charging for referrals and advertising; flipping the burden from the consumer to the data aggregators.  Consumers became accustomed to not paying for content.  What they did not realize is that they were paying in terms of a loss of privacy.

Take note of the ads that appear in Google, Bing, or the search engine of your choice after you search for a restaurant, movie, or anything else you may purchase.  Suddenly, the item you searched for miraculously appears in an ad just for you.  How?  Every move done on the internet is tracked.  Websites are monitored by other websites.  Personal data is aggregated and assembled creating a view of you so detailed it becomes predictive.  The “internet” knows enough about you to know what you will likely do next.

Is the consumer getting a fair shake in this relationship?  The often unknowing or at least not fully informed consumer surrenders more and more information about their personal life in exchange for “free” content.  For the most part consumers have no control over the data and its use.  

The value of this data is substantial; enough to fund the majority of the activity on the internet.  But the consumer is likely unaware of the value of the data related to their internet activity.  Regulation is not sufficient to correct this inequity and calls for regulation are likely to only further widen the gap.  

What is needed is a new economic model in which consumer data is a currency with value that consumers are aware of that can be knowingly exchanged for content.  This new paradigm would not only give the consumer control over personal information, but would create value and drive economic growth.

Anderson Law Firm, PLC
PO Box 100
Milford, MI  48381

©  Anderson Law Firm, PLC 2016