Should privacy pay?

Should privacy pay?

Should we be paid for our data? Or should we pay for our privacy? Read this short blog to learn why both ideas must be rejected!

Over the last year, I have been fortunate to participate in many interesting seminars and discussions on data rights and how data can be governed so the value of it benefits the many, and not just the few. From an event in Canada that gathered experts on data governance, to the World Government Summit in Dubai, to the OECD AI’s expert group meetings, to speeches and discussions with many unions and organisations across the world. These topics are on many a mind.

Data trusts, credit unions - taking back control of data

One thing is clear: that the majority of data is in the control of just a few companies (Amazon, Google, Facebook, Alibaba), is a growing concern for all of us who prioritise equality, fairness, transparency and ultimately human rights.

Governments in Canada, the UK, Singapore, New Zealand, India and probably others I don’t know of, are discussing methods for taking back control of data and making sure it becomes valuable to their citizens and businesses. In the Young Workers’ Lab, we have been invited to explore data trusts as well as the idea to revamp credit unions to become data fiduciaries.

Good as all of this is, you will though increasingly hear experts and governments speak about the need to redistribute the value of data by:

  1. Getting companies who reap our data to pay us for the right to do so, or
  2. Obliging said companies to create premium membership models, where those who value their privacy can pay to decide what data they want to share, or whether they want to keep their own data off-the-grid entirely.

Our fundamental rights must never be traded for money

Christina Colclough, UNI

Both models are hideous and must be rejected. They risk creating a new class system around those who can afford not to sell their data and those who can’t. Our fundamental rights must never be traded for money.

Data is not an asset

Data is not an asset. Like a house, or a thing that you can sell or buy. We need to see data in the light of human rights. The right to be free from manipulation (see above on Deep Fakes), the right to privacy and respect. We have all seen, all too clearly, how data is maliciously used to manipulate elections, sentiments and ultimately challenge democracy.

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