The Data Union, a framework designed to help people gain more control over the data they create online, moves today from public beta to full launch. By joining a Data Union, such as Swash, individuals can actually earn money as they browse the web, use smart devices or stream digital services.
The Data Union concept, created by tech company Streamr, is designed to decentralize control of our information.
Until now, the majority of data we generate browsing the web and using smart devices is controlled by a few giant corporations, such as Google and Facebook.
These companies also sell it to whomever they wish, without consumers receiving any share of its value. Through crowdselling, Data Unions allow people to realise the value of the data they create online, every day.
From browsing history to online purchases; and beyond to cover data from wearables, IoT sensors, smart devices and connected vehicles. Any data-creating activity can be monetized.
As a result, potential purchases of the information vary greatly. A retail brand could buy footfall information, or a house buyer might seek local air quality data. A TV producer may want to find out what people are watching.
Data is anonymous and only available to inform wider market and preference trends, not hone in on individuals.
This development is part of a wider trend towards an ‘internet of people’ and improved data dignity for individuals, which is gaining increased international attention, both in the mainstream and at grassroots political levels.
For example, the recent Netflix documentary, ‘The Social Dilemma’, explored the harmful effects of dominant, data-mining, social media platforms aired just weeks after Andrew Yangs’ Data Dividend initiative took off. The recent US presidential candidate’s movement aims to share revenues between tech giants and internet users, and aligns closely with Data Union principles.
Businesses can also use Data Unions to monetize their existing data and are free to share revenues with customers. Entrepreneurs with an Android app can also integrate Streamr's Data Union framework into their application to provide their users with a new selling point.
Henri Pihkala, Streamr’s founder and CEO explains: “The Data Union approach gives people agency over the data they create every day, and allows them to finally get a share of its value. Not only is this ethical and fair, it significantly increases access to previously unavailable data sets.”
By breaking down these data silos, the framework benefits entrepreneurs, startups, researchers and SMEs - freeing up previously off-limits information for the benefit of all.
Data Unions are designed to democratize the value of individuals’ data, by reducing the control held by a few giant corporations, and putting it back in the hands of the individual user.
Notes to editors
Hi-res headshot of Henri Pihkala available from Fugu PR on request.
Streamr (streamr.network) is the leading marketplace and decentralised network for real-time data. The distributed, open-source, software project was founded in 2017 with the mission of creating a platform to trade and distribute information, while allowing people to regain control of the data they produce.
Through its Data Union concept, individuals can crowdsell their information on the Streamr network along with their fellow union members. Designed for safe data delivery and exchange, it is scalable, low-latency and secure.
Data Union members can monetize their google search history, what they’ve been shopping for on Amazon or even what type of coffee their smart coffee machine's been brewing.
This data is extremely valuable for marketers, new market entrants, hedge funds, researchers and many more. Streamr believes that society will be better off when the value from, and control over, our data is decentralised away from a few giant corporations.
Gemma Norris / Ruby Short / Ben Crispin
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