Tech giants 'should pay' for sharing user info

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A new study has revealed that German Facebook users believe the social network should pay them $8 per month for sharing their contact information while US users would be content with just $3.50.

The study, titled “How Much is Privacy Worth Around the World and Across Platforms? (opens in new tab)”, was conducted by the Technology Policy Institute's (TPI) Jeffrey Prince and Scott Wallsten. It is the first study of its kind to attempt to quantify the value of online privacy and data.

TPI examined the habits of people in the US, Germany, Mexico, Brazil, Columbia and Argentina to compile its study in order to assess how much privacy is worth in each country.

The study also comes at time when consumers have become increasingly concerned over how tech giants and retailers have been collecting and monetizing their personal data.

The price of privacy

President and senior fellow at TPI, Scott Wallsten explained to Reuters (opens in new tab) how it is necessary to quantify the value of privacy before analyzing company's privacy policies, saying:

“Differences in how much people value privacy of different data types across countries suggests that people in some places may prefer weaker rules while people in other places might prefer stronger rules. Quantifying the value of privacy is necessary for conducting any analysis of proposed privacy policies.”

The study found that German users want to be paid more for letting technology companies share their personal data with third-parties than US consumers do. However, people in all the countries surveyed place the highest value on financial information, such as bank balances and biometric information, while location data is the least valuable.

According to the study, a technology platform would have to pay consumers $8.44 a month to share bank balance information, $7.56 to share fingerprint information, $6.05 to read someone's texts and $5.80 to share information on cash withdrawals. Surprisingly, survey participants want to be paid just $1.82 per month to share their location data.

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Via Reuters (opens in new tab)

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.