You may not know it, but companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon are targeting you, every day, because your data is worth a lot to them. How you move around the web builds up a unique footprint, which helps these companies, and their contemporaries, better understand how to target you for advertising, increasing the likelihood that you hit that oh-so-important 'buy' button.
To highlight this, renowned Russian anti-virus and computer protection company, Kaspersky Lab, recently demonstrated how personal data could be used as a currency at their two-day 'pop-up shop' in London. The Data Dollar Store saw potential buyers queuing for hours to buy unique artwork, and they were quite surprised at the methods that could be used to pay for it… Their very own, personal data – images and videos of themselves, for example.
Kaspersky Launches The Data Dollar Store
The store attracted shoppers desperate to get their hands on exclusive prints and artwork by Ben Eine, the famous street artist. It began as a usual retail experience – browsing, picking up your favourite items, and taking them to the counter.
However, when the customers were asked for payment, it didn't involve their wallets, the currency required was Data Dollars – a new monetary unit created by Kaspersky Lab that is basically customers' personal data stored on their smartphones – for example, images, videos, and SMS texts.
Source: Kaspersky Lab
What's the Point?
Kaspersky Lab is looking to raise awareness of the true value of personal data and appealed to other security companies to follow their example by using the Data Dollar symbol.
Source: Kaspersky Lab
The amount of personal data continues to grow exponentially and consumers are totally unaware that they have a potential "gold mine" on their hands – literally. Personal data is a currency that holds its value regardless of geographical position or the variable monetary course. According to Kaspersky Lab, this lack of awareness represents a huge obstacle in the process of understanding why personal data needs to be protected.
They hope that the Data Dollar currency will raise awareness among users and make their Internet browsing experience more secure.
During the period of two days, Kaspersky Lab's improvised shop in London demonstrated how data could work as a currency. The Data Dollar Store attracted many customers.
How Much Is Your Data Worth?
Wondering about the costs? According to Engadget, this was the pricelist:
- A mug – three photos or screenshots of Whatsapp, SMS, and email conversations
- A T-shirt – the last three photos on their camera roll or the last three messages
- An original print – the contents of an entire phone.
A staff member would then select five photos or three screenshots to be publicly displayed for two days in a row. In my opinion, this experimental pop-up shop is a great way for companies to further enhance consumers' experience, as well as for consumers to profit from the information which usually receives no compensation at all!
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Will other companies follow-suit? Whatever happens with the Kaspersky Lab experiment, the Data Dollar and information profit could pave the way for the markets of the future, but before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let's focus on today…
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