I’d posted previously about the idea to license my information to people who want to make money off it. In his post, Why are we giving ourselves away for free, Steven Hodson talked about a similar concern, suggesting that people may start trademarking themselves.
Today, I read a great post by Chip Griffin called Privacy Nuts Hurt Us All. In this post, Chip really makes a good point about how nothing on the Internet is private, nor should be.
The reality is that with more information, our “free” services we love so much can actually make money to continue to operate. With more information, advertisers can show us ads that we might actually click on. With more information, obtrusive banner ads and pop-ups may not even be necessary for many online businesses because their ad campaigns are more effective.
Yes, this means that you’d probably be spending money on their sponsors, but it would likely be because it’s an ad for something your purchasing already.
Where privacy comes into the picture is that all our clicks, views, traffic, etc… is what helps power this focused advertising engine. Claiming that this traffic is “private data” and that it’s use should be regulated is absurd. What about you being observed purchasing a soda from a vending machine on a public street? It’s the same type of data if a company wished to gather it – is that private too?
What I’d love to see though is the ability for me to charge commercial entities a fee for using my personal information to make money. My personal information is my name, address, phone number, email address, religion, race, etc.
Currently I choose to give those away for free because I have no other recourse. There is no way for me to make people pay me for that information. That it is used at all, I really don’t have a problem with. Just remember that nothing on the Internet is private, no matter how much you wish otherwise.
What about you? There is a growing interest in how information is used, do you wish to hinder the use of information, or promote it?