Ad Tech and Privacy

How Much Is Your Data Worth? A New Tool Will Help You Find Out

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If you think the battle between President Trump and TikTok is about viral dance videos, think again. TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, has access to a treasure trove of data about its users—and it’s not the only technology company collecting that level of private information.

Facebook, Google, Amazon, Twitter, Pinterest, and countless other technology giants have expanded their collection of consumer identity data, even as privacy regulations like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California’s Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) have gone into effect. A new tool from Killi serves as an educational resource, giving people a way to calculate the value of their personal data based on the platforms they use every day.

Killi’s new tool asks consumers to enter their email addresses and select the platforms they currently use. The tool references public quarterly revenues and daily/monthly active users, as well as data aggregators like Statista, to arrive at the value amount of each consumer’s personal data.

“When we spoke to consumers during user testing, what we found was that by far the part of the data ecosystem that they understood the least was the value of the data. When you explain to someone how much each platform makes and how, when amalgamated, it turns into $500 per month and growing 30% per year, the reaction is visceral,” says Killi CEO and Founder Neil Sweeney. “It’s important to know, as the data that is being collected is continuing to become more pervasive and private, like with TikTok.”

Nearly all of the fastest-growing consumer products on the market today involve the collection and use of consumer data. Smart speakers and fitness trackers, in particular, are collecting far more information than most users are aware of. But Sweeney says the goal with Killi’s new “You are the Product” tool isn’t to stop people from using the technology platforms they enjoy. He’s hoping that seeing how much money companies like Facebook and Google are generating from personal data will spur people to take action and start using opt-in consent management platforms like his own.

Through Killi’s mobile app and/or online, consumers can opt-in and earn cash for sharing specific pieces of personal information. Unlike other consent management platforms, Killi compensates consumers with cash, instead of points, tokens, or cryptocurrency.

Sweeney says that when consumers see the total value they are missing out on, the response is a resounding “Are you kidding me?” Most people have no idea about the amount, the value, or how pervasive data collection really is.

“The data collected from consumers is sold in many marketplaces for profit without those consumers seeing any of it. This is the reality Killi is fighting against,” Sweeney says. “We are the only ones paying users for their data and providing users with transparency on who is purchasing it, while also giving them the ability to opt-out or opt in.”

Sweeney does see reason to be hopeful, though. In addition to his own company’s goals to educate U.S. consumers, newer regulations like the GDPR or CCPA are also having an impact, forcing companies to get more consent and surface what they are trying to collect.

“Would Apple be changing location settings without the GDPR or CCPA? How about loss of third-party cookies? Nope. How about Oracle dropping third-party data? Nope. Oracle is in the process of getting sued for $10 billion due to their data collection practices – and as a result they are starting to clean things up,” Sweeney says. “Every brand, agency, and vendor is changing how they are dealing with data. And even with all of that progress, it’s just the beginning.”

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.Rainbow over Montclair

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.