Bartering With Personal Data: In the Future, Everyone Will be Private For 15 Minutes

Though the subculture of privacy enthusiasts will strengthen, don’t expect it to grow significantly or to influence mainstream behaviors in any major way.


What’s Happening Now?

In light of the recent allegations of the NSA’s spying on the American public, we’ve witnessed a spike in conversation around keeping personal information private. From cell phone sleeves that cut you off from all connections to photos that self-destruct, at the moment, there is a strong undercurrent running through culture that is screaming, “I want my privacy!”

But, although there is a momentary outcry for less public living, it seems most people’s default behavior is to let it all hang out. Besides consciously hiding outright indiscretions, the majority of connected society is perfectly fine with sharing and being tracked due to the benefits that come along with services like Facebook or various reward programs.

What Comes Next?

Will the cultural burst around privacy have any lasting impact? Probably not. Though the subculture of privacy enthusiasts will strengthen don’t expect it to grow significantly or to influence mainstream behaviors in any major way.

Where is the innovation?

Since much of the data exhaust consumers give off has value to marketers, we see a future where data will become a form of currency; where consumers will be able to take control and use their personal information as a unit of exchange or barter, and the now hidden process of tracking consumers will be opened up. Paul Kemp-Robertson’s recent TED talk covers this coming world of diverse currencies, including Nike’s “Sweat Points” which essentially transforms time working out into points to purchase merchandise. Another example is AchieveMint,  an app which rewards healthy behavior with physical goods.

What do you think? Since traditional notions of privacy are going extinct, will you participate in this coming personal-data economy?

sparks & honey is a next generation agency that helps brands synchronize with culture. Follow us on Twitter at @sparksandhoney to stay up to date on the latest high energy trends.

Image courtesy of Floyd Hayes

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