In the wake of Cambridge Analytica and a growing awareness of just how much data we all generate every year, people are becoming more and more concerned with how this data is being used. I won’t chime in on this debate, but instead, I’d like to make a related point — if these companies are using my data, and making millions from it, why don’t I see any of the money?
The simple answer is that we all give our data away for free every day. More devices throughout your business than you might suspect collect data on your use patterns and anything else they can possibly detect or measure. You own the device or tool, but you’re letting it spill out your data for free. Ironically, it is using electricity you pay for to do it.
Individual devices don’t have all that much data to distribute, but the total flow of information is huge. By some estimates, there are 27 Billion IoT enabled devices in the world today (Internet of Things — machines which collect data and send it to other machines, without human intervention or attention). In 10–12 years there will be 125 billion. More than 10 for every person alive, and many more than that for people in the developed world.
In less than 10 years, these devices will be producing and transmitting more than 180 zettabytes of data per year. That’s an 18 followed by 22 zeroes. All of this data, if nothing changes, will be harvested, aggregated, repackaged and sold by companies to other companies without so much as a ‘thank you’. Fortunes will be made from this data, but as the owners of the devices and indeed the sources of the data, we won’t see a penny.
This is, in an important and meaningful way, our data. We should share in those profits, don’t you think? Well, a company called MXC is working to make that possible.
MXC’s stated goal is to create a decentralized, global IoT economy. To make the data market something individuals and small companies can participate in, and profit from. They use blockchain technology to make the source (and original ownership) of each piece of data known and indelible. They are also building an LPWAN network to leverage this data and make it turn a profit for people like us.
Better still, the system ensures your data is transmitted and stored in an encrypted format — you can share the decryption codes for particular data with paying customers, and any potential hackers or data thieves will get nothing but useless noise.
Now, this is one of those situations where we need to define some terms.
Your first thought, if you’re a skeptic like me, was probably ‘if that’s all true, why would a business use this data at all? Why not just use the free variety? Well, there are 2 very good reasons.
MCX’s innovation could really shake things up, in terms of making IoT data a much more visible, transparent and ethically trackable industry. More importantly for many, though, is the fact that any organization can set itself up to secure and even profit from their own data.
It is ours, after all. Why shouldn’t we be the ones to sell it?
This article was originally published (link: https://medium.com/mxcoin/why-shouldnt-we-profit-from-our-own-data-3abc271c9997 text: here).