Privacy: Bartering Data for Services
Monday, May 8, 2017 at 8:56AM
Todd Hoff

Data is the new currency. A phrase we’ve heard frequently in the wake of the story of selling user data to Uber.

Two keys to that story:

In both cases prevention requires user awareness. How do we get user awareness? Force meaningful disclosure. How do we force meaningful disclosure? Here’s an odd thought: use the tax system.

If data is the new currency then why isn’t exchanging data for use of a service a barter transaction? If a doctor exchanges medical services for chickens, for example, that is a taxable event at fair market value. It's a barter arrangement. A free service that sells user data is similarly bartering the service for data, otherwise said service would not be offered. 

How would it work?

What would it accomplish?

This would not prevent free service for data arrangements. There’s nothing wrong with exchanging data for a service, but everyone should enter such a transaction knowingly.

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