International: Being paid for data

Credit to: The Blue Diamond Gallery.

Who does data belong to? Would it be possible for all of us to receive monetary compensation for what we put on the internet? These questions lead to additional questions regarding the latest tendencies in data mining and management related to Universal Basic Income (UBI).

Eduardo Porter in the New York Times talked about data in the Robotic Age and posed such a question, “Shouldn’t we be paid for it?” (Our data being placed on the web.)

Porter notes that 1.4 billion people use Facebook on a daily basis. He opines in amazement that we are not paid for any of the data we share. Interestingly, if people were paid for their data, Porter argues that the quality of the data would increase because it would no longer be free. If the switch to data-for-pay were to take place, he claims there would be difficulties putting systems in place in order to put a value on information. This could challenge the dominance of Google, Amazon, Apple, and other information giants.

Jaron Lanier founded a proposal in 2013 with his book Who Owns the Future? to have companies pay transparently for any information users place online. Porter mentions this could undermine the “stranglehold” on the future of technology by the “data titans.” Lanier’s bold proposal remains relevant now into 2018. According to Politico, the European Commission generated a report in February 2018 that proposed a tax on the revenue earned by digital companies, which would be based on their location.

Basic Income News has previously reported on proposals and news about the funding of basic income through data mining. Ex-CIA officer, Bryan Wright, made the proposal  for UBI funded by data as well.

More information at:

Eduardo Porter, “Your Data Is Crucial to a Robotic Age. Shouldn’t You Be Paid for It?“, The New York Times, March 6th 2018

Janet Maslin, “Fighting Words Against Big Data”, The New York Times, May 5th 2013

Kate McFarland, “UNITED STATES: Ex-CIA officer Bryan Wright proposes data mining royalties”, Basic Income News, May 27th 2016

Craig Rhodes, “Funding basic income through data mining”, Basic Income News, January 29th 2017

About Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Scott Jacobsen has written 37 articles.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen researches with varied research labs and groups, and works part-time in landscaping. He founded In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He authored/co-authored some e-books, free or low-cost. If you want to contact Scott, you may inquire or comment through e-mail: He is a Tobis Fellow (Fall, 2016) at the UCI Interdisciplinary Center for the Scientific Study of Ethics and Morality (Ethics Center), weekly interview columnist for Conatus News, writer and Executive Administrator for Trusted Clothes, the Vice President of Outreach for the Almas Jiwani Foundation, Councilor for the Athabasca University Student Union, member of the Learning Analytics Research Group, writer for The Voice Magazine, Your Political Party of BC, Progressive Party of BC, Marijuana Party of Canada, BC Refederation Party, and Little Footprints Big Steps International Development Organization, Community Journalist/Blogger for Gordon Neighbourhood House, member-at-large and writer for Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy, and member of the Lifespan Cognition Psychology Lab and IMAGe Psychology Lab.

The views expressed in this Op-Ed piece are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the view of Basic Income News or BIEN. BIEN and Basic Income News do not endorse any particular policy, but Basic Income News welcomes discussion from all points of view in its Op-Ed section.

One comment

  • It seems like the cryptocurrency blockchain space may be heading towards this.

    There are services like steemit and wildspark that are more for content and social media, but I suspect there are some that are interested in liberating the data stranglehold of these titans.

    Actually, (after a quick search) Datum and Datawallet seem to be trying to do precisely that. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more.

    Furthermore, I’ve come across a cryptocurrency project looking to distribute a basic income.

    ( Full discloser, though i have accounts with Steemit and WIldspark I haven’t really tried them out yet, as for Datum and Datawallet, I don’t own any of their coins or am involved with them in any way. ( though I probabbly should be :p ))

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