“Personal data: time to argue about money, not privacy” argues Ariadne Capital’s Julie Meyer
Writing in the Financial Times, Ariadne Capital’s Julie Meyer argues that “consumers should benefit financially from their information.” She highlights the work of the pioneering Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto, who she argues has much to contribute to the dialogue raging in the so-called developed world about privacy and data.
In a world with zero privacy, Julie notes that “Google’s use of my data drives their business model and their multibillion-dollar market capitalisation…[however] we get no economic benefit for that beyond free search and online stalking.” She goes on to say that “if we believe that my data — whether related to my finances, telecoms, health, transportation or property — are my data, than their use surely must accrue value to me.”
Julie demonstrates how De Soto changed the world for Peruvian farmers by establishing property rights for them. Drawing from this idea, she posits whether data could be established as legal assets for everyone. Moreover, “if data are the new universal assets, instead of arguing about privacy, should we just argue about money?”
Julie argues that “if the starting point is ‘they are my data’, then there should be a corresponding accrual for their use in the financial accounts for any business whose model uses them. Data, and the cost of purchasing them, would become a “cost of sale” in transactions.”
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