Data privacy has huge momentum right now and consumers are well aware that their data has value. California Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed that tech giants such as Facebook and Google, which make billions from using the private data of the state’s 40 million residents, pay them for the privilege.

While Google doesn’t exactly sell your data to third parties, it does use it to tailor space for ad buyers. The same is true for Facebook. Gov. Newsom is calling his proposal the “new data dividend.” It would be the first such law in the U.S. and it’s another step to consumers taking full control of their personal data. Any organization doing business in the state would have to pay consumers for their data.

Brands such as McDonald’s, Staples and GM are purchasing data direct from consumers but this is a wider-scale initiative. Should data aggregators pay consumers for their personal information? How much? Might that skew the data in the direction of just those they pay? Will transparency help consumers connect with brands? Does it automatically build social bias into the data?

These are some of the big questions marketers will have to address in the near and long-term. The idea of paying consumers for access to their data isn’t new but what is novel is legislating it. Similarly, paying focus group participants for their opinions and reactions isn’t new but but making it law could affect what people say and when they say it. So, is this an idea whose time has come or do we have some ground to cover before we get there?


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