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Would you sell your privacy for $100 a month?
Information is the new currency of choice in the data age. Web search and social network empires have been built from it, and government agencies live and breathe it. There’s plenty of profit to be had by gleaning little pieces of data about our daily lives, and, depending on how much you like being watched, there’s actually a way for us subjects to make money from our data too.
Luth Research, a company based out of San Diego, operates a business which offers other companies an even closer look into the lives of tens of thousands of people, with their consent of course. In exchange for up to $100 dollars per month, Luth’s “ZQ Intelligence” services collects and analyses data from a person’s smartphone, tablet, or PC, in search of trends and valuable information. Currently, around 20,000 PC users and 6,000 smartphone users are actively participating.
This isn’t to say that people are giving up their entire privacy for just $100 a month. Luth Research doesn’t read through personal messages and sends all of its collected data through a secured private network. Instead, Luth is interested in a lot of what we give away to Google every day for almost nothing. Information such as the subject’s location, website viewing habits, search queries, and time spent social networking, are of particular interest to Luth. The company also has plans to incorporate audio listening at some point in the future, which is a little creepier I’ll admit.
For the companies purchasing the results of Luth’s data, they stand to develop a much better understanding of how customers respond to their products and advertising. By obtaining more detailed pieces of information, companies can spend their advertising dollars more effectively, in the hope of to increasing the average ad click-through rate from a measly.01 percent. Better targeted adverts are also much less annoying for potential consumers, which sounds rather win-win.
“People are willing to be tracked as long as they’re in control,” Luth Research
Interestingly, a separate survey conducted by PunchTab revealed that 27 percent of its 1,100 respondents would allow themselves to be tracked by retailers providing that they were offered something in exchanged. There seems to be a good portion of people who are quite happy to sell their information.
Would you part with your data for a financial reward, or do companies know enough about us already?