David James Stewart: The data revolution means you get a paycheck


Do you remember the Equifax leak where 143 Million US consumers had their data leaked?

How about Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal where personal data was harvested from millions of individual’s Facebook page without their knowledge or consent. Sadly, this is happening every day. Massive companies, many of which we’ve never even heard of, are holding our personal information and selling the data to the highest bidder. This multibillion-dollar marketplace profits all without your control, consent, and certainly without compensating you. This isn’t the dark web most people believe it to be. This is a self-regulated data marketing industry which beholdens themselves to almost no one.

There’s a data revolution underway, and it’s putting us in the driver seat. Consumer data is literally the backbone of modern-day marketing, yet most individuals have no idea their data is the commodity being bought and sold. Brands, publishers, and data brokers talk about ‘doing the right thing’ and giving consumers more control and transparency, but very little is ever done. Why, because they make billions off the consumers ignorance to the data marketplace.

Unfortunately, unless you’ve been living in the wilderness and completely off the grid for over a decade, your personal data is out there. You probably have multiple apps which are tracking your movements, your credit card is selling your purchasing data, even your connected refrigerator’s data is up for sale. While most of this data is out of your control, blockchain is starting to help individuals gaining control, as well as making sure they’re financially compensated for the data they give consent to share.

Blockchain is giving user’s visibility and control like they’ve never had before. The ability to select those attributes you’re comfortable with sharing, while blocking others. For example, you told marketers you have two kids and for whatever reason you decide you don’t want to share that information anymore; you can toggle the information off. You also have control over which marketers can access the data. For example, Monsanto/Bayer is using your data and you and you don’t like that; you can turn the marketer off.

Most importantly, through the blockchain you can mandate marketers pay you anytime they access your data. A few important pieces to note. Most blockchain data marketing companies aren’t sharing your personal identifiable information; it’s merely segmented data. Also, signing-up for won’t get you more SPAM emails, unsolicited postal mail or robo calls.

Advertisers’ will use the segmented data to send you digital marketing banners on your computer and mobile device. The data will allow marketers to not only target consenting consumers who are in-market for their services, but also a much more tailored message. Your online and mobile experience should not change, minus better marketing and a check at the end of the month.

Free money, transparency, and control all sounds great, but there’s one thing we as consumers need to do. We need to show up. The data revolution is at our doorstep but just like everything in life, nothing comes for free.  Taking the little extra effort to sign-up and demand control and consent for the use of your data will result not only in getting you paid, but reshaping the future of our personal data usage. While Europe has taken a huge step forward in protecting their citizens, the US hasn’t.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here