Knowing me Selling me – Why we put so little value on our personal data

What price your data soul

Verizon is betting that price of your data soul is a shot at free concert tickets, Uber rides or Apple Music tune.

A new loyalty program will apparently shower you with “experiences you won’t stop talking about” and “rewards you really, really want”.

All you have to do is spend at least $300 on a Verizon service.

Sounds simple enough.


You also have to sign up to a marketing program called Verizon Selects.

This “uses information about your web browsing, app usage, device location, use of Verizon services and other information about you”.

Verizon shares your information with its own company Oath.

Oath consists of more than 50 digital properties, including HuffPost, Yahoo News, Yahoo Sports and Tumblr.

While Verizon gets to keep your data for THREE YEARS, rewards expire within 6 months.

No wonder some people decided to skip the middleman and sell their own personal information.

Auction off  your data soul

Dutch student Shawn Buckles sold his data soul at auction back in 2014.

He put all of his personal data up for sale.

This included personal records, location records, medical records, train travel patterns, personal calendar, emails, social media chats, consumer preferences, browser history and “his thoughts”.

At the time, Buckles told that he’d “rather decide” for himself who gets access to his data and for what reasons. “

Despite this, people are giving their data away for free by using services like Facebook and Google, and governments are misusing this data.

He received a grand total of €350 (£288) from website The Next Web.

Federico Zannier data mined himself  (including keystrokes, mouse movements, and activity screenshots) on Kickstarter for $2 per day.

He eventually netted $2,733.

Pay here with your personal data

London based street artist Ben Eine recently opened a pop-up shop for his work.

Instead of cash, however, customers at the Data Dollar Store hand over personal information.

The shop is meant to make customers think about the information they freely give away to social media giants.

“This is stuff we give away freely all the time,” Eine told Engadget. “But when you’re actually asked to exchange this private information and walk away with something that does have monetary value, people are like, ‘Whoa! What is actually on my telephone? What are the messages that I’ve sent?’ It’s a little bit scary.”


For a mug : give up three photos or screenshots of your recent text or email conversations for a mug

For a t-shirt : give up the last three photos on your Camera Roll, or the last three text messages sent

For an original print: hand your phone over to the assistant to select any five photos to keep, publicly displayed on a large TV screen in the store for the next two days


While studies show that it hurts to lose the data you love, people put little monetary value on data that they admit they find emotionally distressing to lose.

People would allow someone else to delete their general photos for just €10.37 on average and photos of their family and friends for €9.05 on average.

Misunderstanding the value of personal data puts people at the risk of “Data Heartache“.

Around half do not even use basic security measures such as passwords or PINs to protect their devices and only about a third use a security solution.

Your identity for the price of lunch

An underground hacker market called Trump’s Dumps is selling full identities for as little as $10 each.

They’re called fullz, “dossiers that provide enough financial, geographic and biographical information on a victim to facilitate identity theft or other impersonation-based fraud,” according to a report on cybercrime.

Fullz can help a criminal get past those bothersome “secret questions” that sites ask to verify your identity.

Recently, SecureWorks’ researchers have seen more offers of bulk pre-verified card details, along with more identifying information about the owners.

In some cases, offers even include the cardholder’s mother’s maiden name.

Still, they cost just $10 to $12.

Verizon customers are at least getting some Gaga for their personal information.