Opinion: What price would you put on your personal data?

  • TECH
  • Saturday, 04 Jul 2020

Apparently, 15% of Americans would sell their passwords for US$100 (RM429) or less. — Goumbik/Pixabay

For all the talk of digital rights – and the Big Brotherly tentacles of Big Tech – a surprising number of Americans would sell even their most sensitive data, sometimes for a song.

In fact, according to research commissioned by Okta, which develops cloud software for authenticating users, only 24% of Americans would refuse to sell any of their online information, at any price.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, users were less willing to trade biometric data, offline conversations and identifying personal information than they were data on their purchasing, browsing and location. But 15% would still sell their passwords for US$100 (RM429) or less.

It’s hard to know exactly why users would part with even profoundly private information for such relatively small sums, though one might hazard a few guesses: They are strapped for cash; they are less fearful of corporate surveillance than people suppose; they assume that their personal data is already being secretly stolen as a matter of routine.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

Ben Schott is a Bloomberg Opinion visual columnist. He created the Schott’s Original Miscellany and Schott’s Almanac series, and writes for newspapers and magazines around the world. – Bloomberg

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