Why Online Services Should Pay You for Your Data? The Arguments for a Human-Centric Data Economy
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Abstract—Data, and the economy around it, are said to be driving the fourth industrial revolution. Interestingly, the people—whose data are what moves the new economy— have a rather passive role in it as they are left outside the direct value flow that transforms raw data into huge monetary benefits. This is a consequence of a de facto understanding (or, one may say, misunderstanding) between people and companies that the former receive unpaid access to online services in exchange for the unpaid access to their personal data. This article argues in favor of an alternative human-centric data economy in which people will be paid whenever their data will be used by revenue-generating products and services. We discuss the benefits of such an economy, the main challenges for realizing it, and its feasibility in the view of existing technologies and business practices.