How much is your personal data worth?
Are you considering selling your data? Well, maybe not literally, but it is up for grabs, more than you might think.
Who is not on social media, has no medical history, or whose data is inexistent in some form? It is no secret that personal data is for sale. Now, the question is, how much is your personal data worth? How much are certain users, such as marketers, paying for it?
Much like any commodity, your data’s worth is subject to demand. Here is a glance at some of the elements that influence personal data demand and worth.
The most valuable type of personal data
The most valuable personal data is the health care records. If you didn’t appreciate HIPAA privacy and security policies, this is a clear reason that emphasizes its importance.
Can nurses give patient information over the phone? If yes, what would happen if it falls into the wrong hands? People have been jailed, fined, and fired for such concerns. Violating HIPAA is a serious problem. So, it is important to know that how often is HIPAA training required.
But why are healthcare records such valuable? The information contained therein can cause untold damages to the owner, for example, identity theft. They feature a more-complete version of a patient’s background.
Apart from medical history, the records include personal identifiable information (PII). This includes address, contact details, place/date of birth, insurance information, to mention a few. Companies and criminals can benefit a lot from healthcare records access with such details.
Gender and age
There are fewer males than females, and this makes their data more valuable; any type of commodity that isn’t as abundant is worth a higher premium. Age also accounts for its value. Males in the 18-25 years age bracket are among the most viable individuals in a population, and the data becomes even more valuable if they are active, such as employed.
Earning males aged 18-25 years top the data market, which further considers their ancestry and where they live. This data can be used to target a rich consumer base for marketers.
Criminals, such as identity thieves, also know they can profit from this kind of data. Platforms like social media know that this data is valuable, too, so as they create profiles, they’ll collect as many details as possible to increase the data’s worth.
Other valuable types of data
Social security numbers, passwords, and payment details come close when considering personal data worth. Passwords aren’t easy to get, especially as no one would knowingly sell their passwords.
Card details, other payment details, and social security numbers can be found in various sources. Nonetheless, they are hardly sold unless by criminals like hackers.
Physical address and marital status are also worthy personal data. The nature of the data extends to others, such as photos and videos. The least valuable personal data are names and gender.
Data privacy and security, or lack thereof, can significantly impact your life. Companies pay a premium to gather as much data as they can. This makes it easier to understand their target customers and tailor marketing companies to tip more users in their favor.
Criminals also pay a fortune for the data as they target unsuspecting individuals. If you haven’t given much weight to your data, it is time you knew its worth. You’ll be a lot careful as you engage in various activities, keeping it private and safe.
Who needs your data, what is it worth for them, and why do they need it?
Sometimes you are not even aware of what data you are giving to platforms and companies related to you. Similarly, you may not know how valuable your data is. If these two are true about you, then the chances are that you do not know who is looking for your data and why.
Well, there are three main parties always looking for your data. Interestingly, all three have different tactics and intentions about using your information and data. Sometimes it can be worrying because someone can use your data and information for illegal activity.
Here are the three main parties who need your data.
When we talk about platforms, we consider digital platforms like LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Your data is worth millions and billions of dollars to them. Their main objective for getting your data is to bring better results for their ad sales.
These platforms use your data and algorithms to specify different advertisements for you. With better advertisement stats, these platforms can earn more using your data.
There are different types of companies willing to invest billions in data. Why? They need to be more efficient at knowing what the customer wants and needs. In this way, they can plan ahead of time, and when the time comes, they will be right there for the customer.
Companies are interested in hitting the market or customer at the right time with the right service/product. While nothing is wrong, this may make a better advertising company more effective than a better service-providing company.
The last one on the list is the criminals. They usually have bad intentions about getting your data. So, nobody can tell what is the worth of your data for them until they take any action on your data.
Some criminal intentions to get your data include identity theft and blackmailing. Gradually, all of this leads to selling the information to anyone else who wants that information. With no accountability, the data for criminals might be cheaper than companies and platforms.
How much is your data worth for you?
On the individual level, one individual’s data can be under a dollar depending on factors like age, gender, bank balance, ownership status, family demographics, politics, health, and more. However, when we talk about ourselves, the data has no money value. On the contrary, it holds value for us in some other ways.
Better online experience
The first way our data might be beneficial for us is through our online experience. Platforms always trace data, which helps them maintain a personalized experience for us. Here we are not talking about the advertisement but the other experiences like recommended posts and influencers/creators.
Our data tells them our interests, which helps them specify posts for us.
It is the most common way our data will benefit us. Let’s say that you are visiting some car information websites and online selling portals. After some time, you will note that different platforms and browsers provide adverts about buying cars or local showrooms.
Predictive analysis is also an effective way our data can help us. Our healthcare data helps professionals use technology to predict a certain event in the medical field. It can also help in future treatments.
Similarly, this helps in a better shopping experience depending on different aspects of your data. In terms of the shopping experience, companies look for favorable market opportunities by doing predictive analysis of customers’ data.
Photo by Alexander Sinn