The NY Times released a video on September 23 titled “Jaron Lanier Fixes the Internet” that describes the concept of Data Dignity. This concept was originally described in the Harvard Business Review article “A Blueprint for a Better Digital Society” on September 26, 2018 by Jaron Lanier and Glen Weyl.
The NY Times Opinion page of the Privacy Project presents this same concept that every individual should own the data they generate in a high glitz video. This is defined in the video as “You should have the moral rights to every bit of data that exists because you exist, now and forever.”
The three part video has very fancy graphics and provides a fast and easy way to get up to speed on the concept which has received some push back. In fact, part three of the video is devoted to refuting the most common objections.
The top objection is that most feel that the value of our own data wouldn’t amount to a hill of beans, but Jaron points out that Silicon Valley leverages your private data and has revenue that amounts to trillions of dollars. Jaron suggests that the revenue derived from personal data generated by a small family might create a revenue stream of up to $20,000 annually.
The presentation identifies several other key benefits to this approach. For example, Jaron suggests that it would create a moderating effect on social media. The remaining objections refuted includes why tech companies won’t resist the idea, why people will willingly pay for social media and other services they get for free today, and how it will prevent poor people from being priced out of the internet.
This is a generally fascinating idea that is easily as ground breaking as the ideas put forward by self-sovereign identity advocates and the idea is equally relevant to banks and payment networks. Banks and payment networks remain some of the most trusted stewards of personal data for the vast majority of consumers and so developing a strategy to leverage your brand’s trust utilizing this concept is certainly in your best interest.
However, note that your company won’t be first. To better differentiate it’s brand from the traditional Silicon Valley tech suppliers, Microsoft announced this: “Microsoft’s new ‘Data Dignity’ team could help users control their personal data.”
Overview by Tim Sloane, VP, Payments Innovation at Mercator Advisory Group