How much is our personal data worth?

How much is our personal data worth?

Digital & Technology

Prateek Srivastava

Prateek Srivastava

233 week ago — 5 min read

Background: Prateek Srivastava examines the value of personal data in the marketplace and the need to protect the same from misuse.

We, as modern digitally connected persons, are used to data-sharing practices. We share details about our location, emotions and, actions through tech/app platforms. Thus, leaving footprints that go unnoticed such as geo-location when carrying a mobile phone.

The value of this information is well understood by cyber criminals and personal data brokers who try to collect as much data about our personal conducts and habits as possible, allowing them to learn about our behaviours to make the best offers or to disclose details on the deep dark web.

As modern digitally connected persons, we are used to data-sharing practices. We share details about our location, emotions and actions through tech/app platforms. Thus, leaving footprints that go unnoticed. It is up to us to consciously safeguard our personal data.


We all consider personal data privacy to be important, but none of us are willing to undertake action to protect personal data. The sharing of personal information on social networking sites, and the provision of personal data in exchange for apps and other web-based services seem to support this view.

Question is: how much is our personal data worth? Also, is it really worth changing our own mindset towards the protection of and valuing our own personal data?

Also read: Are you an insider threat?

Personal data and its value in the marketplace

There is no such thing as a free lunch. Free signups are not free but ‘free’ trading of information and communication in exchange for personal data.

Personal is a type of data which generates its ‘value’ every time it is processed through automated decision-making systems.

Research suggests that consumers are becoming more aware about the value of their personal data; challenge is quantifying the value of personal data and identifying a buyer or buyers in the marketplace.

The recent personal data protection legislation EU-GDPR empowers the consumers to be aware about their personal data protection rights not just in the EU but in other countries too; after all data doesn’t understand borders so do the internet.

Is there a data marketplace which exists?

Research suggests blockchain-based, decentralised personal data marketplace ecosystem has started evolving in the United States and the technology can be utilised by the consumers to design their data profile and connect data sources ; i.e. social media, maps and other utility apps in exchange for a profit. The operating models and frameworks are still in its infancy stage, but it is surely the first step in supporting consumers ability to monetise on their personal data with direct buying offers from data buyer.

The economics and trade of personal data

Consumers’ internet usage has created value for businesses globally and opportunities for organisations to improve their customer and client operations to market their innovation in the form of goods and services.

The question is how organisations collect data from consumers and how do they use it to enhance sales, marketing, advertising and innovation (labs) operations by keeping personal data trust and transparency as the core to protect privacy (as data custodians) and societal entanglement.

Reports suggest economic value for consumers of advertising-supported internet services in the US and Europe is approximately (average) 470 – 600 billion US dollars (2011 -2019).

The need for data hygiene practices

Consumers demand more transparency and accountability from businesses. In the future we will see consumers rewarding those organisations with good data hygiene practices in place.

The clear and present danger is that privacy in the future may well become obsolete and it is up to us to consciously safeguard our personal data.

Also read: Protect your small business with these cyber security tips

Image source:

To explore business opportunities, link with me by clicking on the 'Connect' button on our eBiz Card.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker.


Posted by

Prateek Srivastava

Prateek Srivastava, a post-graduate from Middlesex University is a Business intelligence specialist skilled in accessing the latest methods of pre-investment investigations....

Other articles written by Prateek Srivastava

View All