How Much Is Your Personal Online Data Worth To Big Tech?

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“There’s a saying that data is the new oil because of how valuable it is to the digital economy. But what’s the value of your data, personally? 

Proton blog

In the digital landscape, personal data has emerged as the new currency, with tech giants like Facebook and Google capitalizing on its immense value. Recent analysis reveals that for individuals residing in the United States, their data alone generated over $600 in revenue for these companies in the previous year. This staggering figure, however, merely scratches the surface of the broader ecosystem profiting from user data, encompassing ad tech firms, internet service providers, and even the clandestine realms of the dark web. Despite the ostensibly “free” nature of online services, users unknowingly pay a hefty price with the intimate details of their lives, highlighting the urgent need for greater privacy safeguards in the digital age.

How much your data is worth to Google

How much your data is worth to Facebook

Delving into the specifics, the analysis elucidates the revenue per user for Facebook and Google, offering insights into the disparity in earnings across different regions. While Facebook’s revenue per user in the United States and Canada surpassed $200 annually, Google’s ad revenue from each US user amounted to nearly $400 per year. These figures underscore the immense financial stakes involved and emphasize the pervasive nature of data monetization in the tech industry. Moreover, the article sheds light on alternative valuation methods, including the substantial ad revenues generated by other tech giants like Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft, further highlighting the multifaceted nature of the data economy.

That’s already hundreds of dollars per year, just from two companies. But we’re also collectively paying in the tens of billions of dollars to other companies profiting off ads. Amazon reported almost $38 billion(new window) in ad revenue in 2022, Apple generated $4.7 billion(new window), and Microsoft earned $12 billion(new window).

And that’s just the Big Tech giants. Companies like Spotify, Twitter, Snap, and others also make money from targeted ads. 

Your data is also bought and sold in far less obvious ways. Internet service providers like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon collect your data and surreptitiously use it to sell advertising and analytics services, according to the FTC(new window). And even your car(new window) and grocery store(new window) are watching you.

Proton blog

Amid growing concerns over privacy breaches and data exploitation, there is a palpable shift in public sentiment, with an increasing number of individuals questioning the ethical implications of Big Tech’s profit-driven practices. This sentiment is echoed in recent surveys, indicating a widespread belief that tech companies should not profit off personal information without informed consent. In response, privacy-focused alternatives like Proton advocate for a paradigm shift, advocating for end-to-end encryption as a means to safeguard user data from exploitation. By prioritizing privacy and empowering users to regain control of their data, such initiatives aim to challenge the status quo and uphold fundamental values of privacy and security in the digital realm.

REFERENCES
Proton Blog: What’s your data really worth?


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Steve Williams

Steve is the CEO of Freely Corp. He is a Christian, American Patriot, and web developer...in that order. He understands the value of Freedom and Liberty. He also understands that in a authoritarian society without Freedom and Liberty, you must be able to communicate securely, and share truth anonymously if you are going to survive the fight and regain your freedom. This is the primary focus of the Freely Project.

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