The Personal Data Economy


Your Data for Sale


Anya Skatova is a research fellow at the Horizon Digital Economy Research Hub, based at the University of Nottingham and funded through RCUK’s Digital Economy theme.

In her research, Anya asked a group of participants to think about different types of data, including physical location GPS, electricity bills, broadband usage, mobile phone bills, loyalty cards, internet browsing, demographics, social networking and bank statements. She wanted to find out whether people see these different types of data differently and how concerned they were about their information being protected.

When asked about comparing their security concerns vs. the benefits of certain types of personal data, users felt security was important when talking about their physical location, mobile phone bills, social networking or bank statement data. They felt that this type of data was personal and should only be shared when it is necessary to do so. When considering loyalty card data, users felt the benefits far outweigh security concerns saying that the information contained on loyalty cards “can’t harm me or anyone”.

Security vs Benefit of Personal Data


In a different study, Anya found that people value different data differently. People were willing to pay the highest amount to protect bank statement data, social network profiles and history and physical location data. People care a little bit less about broadband bills, mobile phone bills, loyalty cards, internet browsing history, demographic information, but they will still pay something to protect it.

How much to secure your personal data

Increasingly, we will see the emergence of personal clouds, data exchanges and data currencies that allow people to determine how valuable and shareable different types of personal data is to them.

A recent report from the World Economic Forum, prepared in collaboration with the Boston Consulting Group, explores new approaches for managing and sharing personal data, and suggests that we need to find innovative ways of using, rather than trying to safeguard, data. To read the report, please visit:

Finally, the team at Vibrant Data developed the following video to summarize the challenges of growing the Personal Data Economy and identified 4 grand challenges including (1) access, (2) trust (3) data literacy and (4) openness.

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