Most people do not approve of companies profiting from their data

The convenience of social media and ease of online shopping comes with a cost: Our data privacy -- or lack of it. But have we consented to our data being accessed or sold?
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor

People around the world are getting upset at how their data is being collected and used. Data is often harvested and sold for profit -- often without the person's consent.

The UK government wants to extract the medical history of every patient in England if they do not opt-out before July 1, 2021. That is a huge amount of data that potentially can be shared. So, it is not surprising that people are not keen to have their online data shared -- often for profit.

People are becoming increasingly concerned with and distrustful of how companies use, manage, and protect their personal data, and a new survey has revealed how much people know about data gathering and what happens to their data.

From April 23 to May 3, 2021, St. Louis-based market research firm Invisibly surveyed 1,320 people to gauge whether they approve of having their data sold for profit.

It wanted to find out whether people want to have more control over what happens to their data and if they had any interest in monetizing their data.

The survey showed that four in five (79%) do not approve of companies profiting from their data. Respondents under 25 years of age were less likely to disapprove (74%) compared to older respondents (85% to 87%).

Four in five do not approve of companies profiting from their data zdnet

Seven in 10 (71%) were aware that companies profit from selling their data, and 46% felt that they should be able to earn money from their own data instead of companies.

Over three in four (77%) do want to control who has access to their data, yet 81% of consumers will share their personal information for online personalization from a brand.

Dr. Don Vaughn, Ph.D., Head of Product at Invisibly said: "Data consent is a huge industry issue right now and we are on a mission to give people control and consent over the data they share."

So how can people be made aware of issues around data control? Anyone who understands data collection and online advertising understand just how difficult, if not impossible it currently is to have total control over your own data.

There are several platforms such as SavvyShares, which compensates consumers for access to their data, and Killi Paycheck, which offers direct payments for data use.

It is not surprising that data privacy is a hot topic right now. Most businesses are tracking customers yet don't tell them. Invisibly is launching a consumer-consented data platform where people can choose what data they share and get compensated for it.

It would be fantastic if all data that is collected by any company has been consented to by the owner of the data -- and that people are being compensated for giving companies access to their data.

Being able to choose which data can be shared -- and being able to completely protect your data, like the GDPR across Europe -- will empower owners of data to choose what happens to their information.

Data protection should not be something offered to the few but the many. But will paying people for their data stop companies also profiting from it? Only time will tell.

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