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Culture & Religion

What If You Sold Your Online Data Directly To Marketers?

One software developer is doing just that, via a Kickstarter campaign offering digital footprints of various sizes for as little as US$2.

What’s the Latest Development?

Software developer Federico Zannier recently launched a Kickstarter campaign titled “A bite of Me” in which he offers up his digital footprint — including but not limited to “[e]mails, chat logs, location data, browser history, [and] screenshots” — for sale. Interested parties can drop as little as US$2 on a day’s worth of data or US$200 for all 7 Gb of personal data amassed over a 50-day period in February and March. With 22 days to go as of this writing, his funding goal of $500 has more than doubled.

What’s the Big Idea?

By data-mining himself, as he puts it, Zannier hopes to gain control of information that’s already being given up unwittingly thanks to “terms and conditions” full of fine print that few people read. With the money raised by the campaign, he plans to develop a browser extension and smartphone app that will essentially let its users spy on themselves. Some potential issues envisioned by writer Ryan Gallagher include the privacy of others mentioned in the data — family members’ e-mail addresses, for example — and the pre-cleaning of the logs to remove sensitive information such as financial records or passwords. However, Zannier suggests that these issues need not be that serious: “Knowing you’re being tracked does change the way you browse the Internet, of course.”

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Read it at Slate


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