In some of my previous posts I have introduced the concept of “Personal Data Store”, an environment enabling individuals to manage their personal data. From one side, Personal Data Stores offer services to gather, store, retrieve, use and share the information a person need to manage their lives better, from the other they are a key element for creating a user-centric personal data ecosystem where individuals keep the full ownership of their data and have the ability to control the use of such a data (see for instance http://personaldataecosystem.org/ for a deeper discussion).
This ecosystem would also give the opportunity to create a market on Personal Data able to distribute value among all the involved actors (individuals, aggregators, service providers, etc.) in a more equilibrate way with respect to the current situation, where personal data are “sold” every day with limited profit for individuals. In fact, privacy directives have the objective of limiting the use of personal data and information on personal behaviours, but they do not give the opportunity to individuals to participate in the market of personal data.
Solutions were recently elaborated in order to offer to individuals the chance to be actively involved in this market. An example is the service provided by Statz (www.statz.com).
Statz operates as a Data Marketplace where individuals are producers of personal data, and own the produced data. Individuals can gather their personal data and expose them to potential “buyers”, by taking an active role in controlling how they are offered (e.g., the level of privacy). Statz provides to buyers services to search for data relevant for them, build a report (by guaranteeing the agreed level of privacy and anonymity), and purchase it. If data of a user is included in any report, she/he make moneys from Statz (e.g., via PayPal). The value of personal data is determined by the market, by factoring in the availability, the level of interest, and the nature of the data itself (e.g., granularity, level of privacy, historic sequences, etc.). Statz makes an estimation of the values for the offered data, which represent only a market entry point.
Entities which have a good reputation as a trusted party and a large number of customers are in a good position for setting-up a successful marketplace for personal data, “the new oil of the 21st century” , as envisaged by World Economic Forum.