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Intel Fuels a Rebellion Around Your Data

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A representation of the breadth of apps that work with personal information.

Intel's new data economy initiative aims to help consumers realize more of the value of their own personal digital information.

Credit: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Intel Labs is launching a data economy initiative to help consumers realize more of the value of their personal digital information. The initiative involves hackathons that encourage developers to consider new uses of personal data, and features a new website called We the Data.

Internet companies are using unprecedented volumes of user data with minimal regulation, leading some to suggest an imbalance exists in who benefits from consumer data.

California lawmakers in February proposed the Right to Know Act, which would have allowed state citizens to obtain a detailed report of the data that companies had collected and with whom it was shared. However, the bill was put on hold following objections by lobbyists who said the bill was unworkable and that legislators do not grasp the way the Internet functions.

Nevertheless, analysts say the growing value of personal data is undeniable, as it is increasingly tied to big data that enables many online services.

The researchers note that personal information is primarily valuable when aggregated, with an individual's value to Facebook being only about $5 a year, for example. Although some believe the market has already settled into an appropriate balance, Intel's data economy initiative aims to explore the issue.

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