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How Much is Your Personal Data Worth? It’s Still Not Clear

This social media board serves to illustrate the various modes of personal data people have, for instance "Facebook", "Twitter", and "YouTube"

Consumers may soon learn the value of their personal data, but do they care?

We’ve known for a while that tech companies like Facebook and Amazon track and collect data from internet users, but the picture’s murkier when it comes to how much companies profit from the selling of this data. But 2 Senators—Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) & Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO)—are aiming to change that with a new bill that would require commercial data operators to disclose the types of data collected, along with an assessment of the value of that data.

Currently, there is no easy process for determining the value of consumer data. As the targeting of ads becomes increasingly sophisticated, the data of internet users is likely to rise in value—on-the-napkin calculations reveal that an internet user’s data is worth roughly $240 per year, with that figure projected to rise as high as $600 per year by 2022. Furthermore, the value of data differs depending on the buyer, making a universal value difficult to determine.

How Are Consumers Reacting?

The other problem? Consumers might not actually care how much their personal data is worth. Given the convoluted nature of our digital world, it’s virtually (if not actually) impossible to escape its grasp, leaving most consumers to just shut up and deal with it.

Cutting-the-cord and opting-out of society are no more—to participate in the world of 2019, you’ll have to be connected, and with that connection comes tracking. And if you try to avoid that tracking, you may just find yourself lost in the world.

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