Google, Facebook and other Silicon Valley companies know a lot about us. The reason that accounts for that is, we leave our data in exchange for free services. Therefore, they know what we buy, what movies we watch, what we like, how we manage our relationships, where we live, and the like. All of this is valuable information that entrepreneurs exploit to earn money with our consent. Why not using this “wealth” for a good cause, then?
Marcos Menendez, startupper of Barcelona, must have been on the same page when founded The GoodData, a brokerage agency selling data. This is, in fact, a co-op in which members are the same users who give up their data to benefit non-profit association, who runs the Kiva microcredit platform. “Data are a new source of wealth, in the same way, agriculture, oil, and manufacturing are,” Menendez said in an interview.
GoodData uses Disconnect, an open source browser extension. When active, users can prevent companies from collecting their data on the web, and they can also choose which ones to share with GoodData brokers. “Only if we get your consent, we anonymize and trade on a small part of your data” the site points out. “Half the money we collect goes toward the Kiva microcredit platform, whereas the rest is for funding these operations.”
By joining the program, the user becomes a member of the cooperative and in this way, users have full control of both their data and the company operations.
The Good Date isn’t the only service available to users who want to manage their online privacy. Another startup, Datacoup, offers $ 8 per month to access user data. Users can decide what to sell and in what amount.