Blog post by Eline Chivot: “Writing ever more complicated and intrusive regulations rules about data processing and data use
Weyl and Lanier’s argument is motivated by the belief that because Internet users are getting so many valuable services—like search, email, maps, and social networking—for free, they must be paying with their data. Therefore, they argue, if users are paying with their data, they should get something in return. Never mind that they do get something in return: valuable digital services that they do not pay for monetarily. But Weyl and Lanier say this is not enough, and consumers should get more.
While this idea may sound good on paper, in practice, it would be a disaster.
…Weyl and Lanier’s self-declared objective is to ensure digital dignity, but in practice this proposal would disrupt the equal treatment users receive from digital services today by valuing users based on their net worth. In this techno-socialist nirvana, to paraphrase Orwell, some pigs would be more equal than others. The French Data Protection Authority, CNIL, itself raised concerns about treating data as a commodity, warning that doing so would jeopardize society’s humanist values and fundamental rights which are, in essence, priceless.
To ensure “a better digital society,” companies should continue to be allowed to decide the best Internet business models based on what consumers demand. Data is neither cash nor a commodity, and pursuing policies based on this misconception will damage the digital economy and make the lives of digital consumers considerably worse….(More)”.