A Dutch student has decided to put his whole personal data, or what he calls “data soul,” in an auction. The decision has raised questions on the future of personal information, especially our own.
Last April 12, Shawn Buckles sold is “data soul,” which includes is location records, medical records, personal calendar, all his emails, and every data from his social media communications. He also auctioned his chat archives, consumer preferences, and Internet browsing history, all for 350 euros.
We generate immense amounts of data every day, sometimes without even realizing it. These data are then used by different companies for various purposes, such as customizing online advertising to target your preferences. Buckles decided to sell his personal data in part to receive how much it would cost, since people do not generally understand the value of their own data.
There is no market yet where any individual can sell their personal data, and big companies like Google and Facebook have gotten away with utilizing these data for their own benefit without compensating its owners.
The winner bidder was technology news company The Next Web, which intends to use Buckle’s data to “highlight the issue of online privacy rather than to a more sinister end.”