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A Stock Exchange For Your Personal Data

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Personal data eye

Ray Bartkus for The Wall Street Journal

The creation of a marketplace for personal information would be a way for people to regain control of their data in the information age, says Hewlett-Packard (HP) Labs senior fellow Bernardo Huberman.

In a recent paper, Huberman, director of HP Labs' Social Computing Research Group, and co-author Christina Aperjis describe a New York Stock Exchange for personal data. A trusted market operator could take a small cut when people decide to sell their data, and help arrive at a realistic price for the transaction. On the proposed market, a person who values her privacy might choose to sell her shopping patterns for $10 at a risk of not finding a buyer, for a guaranteed payment of 50 cents, or might opt out and keep her privacy entirely.

Huberman says such pricing options gauge how a person values privacy and risk, and thus helps address how to put a realistic dollar value on data to make transactions worthwhile to sellers and buyers, and how to sell unbiased data so buyers can use small samples of people to infer information about larger populations.

Huberman and Aperjis also say a trustworthy market could encourage people to share more and new kinds of data.

From Technology Review 
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Abstracts Copyright © 2012 Information Inc. External Link, Bethesda, Maryland, USA 


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