Calif. Gov. Proposes Law that Consumers Be Paid “Data Use Dividends” by Tech Companies

I saw a really interesting article this morning on C/NET. California Governor Gavin Newsom has proposed a new law that says that tech companies have to pay you a dividend based on how much money they earn using your personal data. This is part of a big consumer privacy / consumer protection initiative.

It will be interesting to see how far this bill gets in the California legislature. California, of course, is the home to Silicon Valley titans like Alphabet (Google, YouTube), Apple, Oracle and many other data-centric businesses. You can expect a big lobbying effort against any substantive disclosures of how these companies are crunching our data, since it is the very basis for these billion dollar businesses.

The real “Big Picture” implication here is that all the data they have collected about our collective behavior is now being used for Artificial Intelligence applications that are going to shape our future.

Europe has long been at the forefront of consumer and data privacy laws. Last year, the EU passed a sweeping new data collection and protection statute that could have a big impact on the US tech giants whose services are worldwide in scope. (I’m looking at you, Mark Zuckerberg!) Here is an article reporting on the UK Parliament’s report on social media and the need for greater regulation:

At the link below, you can get some good insights into this new data collection standard. At its heart is a necessary concept – all data collection must be done with your consent, and the consent must be “real” and must be “informed”.

The consequences could be severe, and not just in terms of fines levied for non-compliance. Tim Berners-Lee, the actual inventor of the World Wide Web, is concerned enough about the degree of control of the Internet held by these companies (Apple, Google, Facebook, etc.) that he is openly talking about how they need to be broken up. Monopolists are extracting too much money and exerting too much control over the Internet.

Google and Facebook are currently destroying the news and publishing business. It’s just as bad as the consolidation of our other media, and it limits the number of voices we hear, and the opportunities for new businesses to gain traction and create new disruptive technologies to further change our lives.

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