Own Your Data®
Web2’s economy has been driven by the aggressive collection of user data.
Our mission is to end data exploitation and lead the web toward a new advertising model, one that enables you to own, control and profit from your data in Web3 and the metaverse.
Data is the most valuable asset in the world. It’s time for consumers to get their cut.
Brands must “ask permission” to engage with users.
If you can build a token, if you can build a culture, then you can change the world.
Permission marketing is the tool that unlocks the power of the internet.
Clearly, if you are an EU citizen the answer is “Yes, it’s the law.” Elsewhere, if you live in a democratic country, the answer may be “not yet, officially.” But if EU citizens own their data, then surely you will soon enough. Think of it this way: If you ask people to vote on whether they own their data, who would ever vote “no?” So, the EU’s principles of data ownership are likely to become law in all democratic countries, with some local variations—and in many less democratic countries too.
In the US, there are a variety of initiatives in favor of data ownership. It has become a political issue, but luckily neither party appears to oppose people owning their data. For example, Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) introduced Social Media Data Privacy Legislation in 2019. At the same time, Democratic presidential hopeful Andrew Yang included data ownership as part of his presidential campaign. In late 2019, California enacted the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). This regulates the use of Californians’ personal data and is similar to GDPR. Other states will no doubt follow suit as time marches forward.
Before we can discuss how it might be possible to use your data, it may help to discuss what your personal data is. In truth, there are three main categories of personal data:
- Credential data. This is your identity and all the documents associated with it that act as credentials: birth certificate, social security number, passport, driving license, credit and debit cards, memberships and subscriptions, and so on.
- Title data. This refers to data that proves ownership of something, whether it be land, a property, a car, or a mobile phone. When you sell something you own you transfer its title to another owner. So this is data whose ownership can change. Digital possessions like books, music, and videos you have bought are self-defining title which you can also sell.
- Your historical record. The third kind of data is your historical record, including such things as your educational record, your health record, your employment record, the history of everything you ever bought or sold, and even the web links that record which web pages you have visited. This data is valuable. In fact, it is your historical data, which both Google and Facebook exploit that is responsible for their advertising income.
The data within an organization can be divided between data that the organization created itself and owns and external data for which it is the custodian. Which is which depends upon the law, as it can vary from one country to another. Under the EU’s GDPR, if it is personal data then the organization is the custodian of the data, and the data owner has the right to withdraw that data or, if it is inaccurate, to have it corrected.
There can be other complexities to data ownership within an organization, all of which arise from contractual arrangements. For example, a research organization may gather data for research purposes but contract the ownership of that data to the organization that is paying for the research. The ownership of data can thus be subject to contract, but local law may override such regulations, as would be the case in the EU if an organization made a contract to own someone’s personal data.
Owning your data is important because your data has value. If you do not manage and control access to your data then others will extract value from it without properly rewarding you.
Naturally, you know where a good deal of your personal data is: it’s on your mobile phone, tablet, and PC. The rest of it is in the cloud somewhere. Some of it is held by government organizations, educational and health care organizations. Some is held by banks, insurance companies, and stores like Wall Mart and Target. Some is held by social network sites like Facebook and Linkedin, or by e-commerce sites like Amazon. Most websites that you visit are storing some of your personal data.
Many of these organizations, particularly social networks and search engine businesses will claim that you are trading the use of your data for the services they provide, although they rarely provide any detail of what they are doing with your data. For example, if you send a specimen of your saliva to a genetic analysis company that traces your ancestry, they do not tell you that they may also sell your data to pharmaceutical companies. This happens.
Additionally, there are data brokers who gather your personal data from publicly available sources: court cases, marriage records, property records, etc. and combine it with other personal data they buy: browsing history, social media data and anything else they can get their hands on, including data from retail stores and even the Department of Motor Vehicles. They sell such data to anyone who is willing to bid for it.
Because your data is fragmented and stored in many different places, at the moment, it is difficult for anyone to assemble their data all in one place. In theory, it would be possible for European citizens to do so because legally they can demand copies of their data from organizations that hold it. However, even if someone did that there is currently no easy way for them to assemble all their personal data in a single place. This will become easier when digital IDs become more common. This is why Permission.io is developing a Digital ID capability for its members. It intends to enable them to collect their personal data together should they wish to.
Currently, there are only a few ways for individuals to control their data and make productive use of it. Permission.io provides one possibility. It has built a blockchain business that enables individuals to earn ASK coins by watching promotional videos and ads in exchange for the use of their profile data. We believe that this is just the beginning. Permission.io is also providing its members with the ability to create genuine trusted Digital IDs. Once members have Digital IDs, they will be able to use them to authenticate themselves in many situations. Digital IDs will also provide a foundation for members to create and manage all their personal data from their own data vault.
Permission.io is not alone in believing that the Digital IDs will make a key contribution to Web 3.0, the next generation of the Internet. McKinsey for example believes that Digital IDs will engender a global business opportunity for people and organizations everywhere. There are two aspects to this opportunity. On the one hand, cybercrime will become less and less prevalent because individuals and businesses will be able to operate in a trusted environment, authenticating one another whenever they interact. On the other hand, the ability of individuals to control and share their data allows businesses and consumers to interact directly, on an equal basis, eliminating middlemen and thus reducing the cost of establishing and maintaining relationships.