Consumer data, once freely given to companies like Facebook and Google, has become the subject of increasing debate after breaches and manipulations. Following the EU’s passage of the GDPR and Mark Zuckerberg’s lengthy congressional testimony, people are reconsidering who or what should be responsible for their personal information. Is increased regulation the answer, or will outright ownership—allowing users to sell or license their data to interested parties—best solve these complicated problems?
Our listed attorneys in the field of Information Technology Law weigh in.
Should consumers control their own data?
In which area are consumers most likely to benefit from data ownership?
Data ownership will improve a consumer’s online experience.
The attorneys we surveyed offered measured responses to our questions. While overwhelmingly in support of the proposal that consumers should control their data, a slim majority said they neither agreed nor disagreed that this ownership would improve the online experience. Regardless, nearly 80 percent selected "privacy" as the greatest benefit to consumer data rights—perhaps reason enough to tip the scales in their favor. Debates over who collects our data, and how they do it, are sure to continue. How that will play out for consumers remains to be seen.