This morning the Financial Times published a free (at least for now) online calculator that allows users to determine how much their personal data is worth.
What is most interesting is to reverse engineer the process by ticking and unticking the options made available.
For instance the calculator states that data brokers already know the following:
- ZIP code
- Education level
So far, these are worth $0.007.
Unticking any of these will reduce the value to $0.0065…. except for one variable: ethnicity which reduces the value by 71% to $0.002.
This leads me to speculate that ethnicity has a substantial predictive power.
The next question is whether or not you are a millionaire… needless to say, the value more than doubles.
You can find the calculator in the link below.
Financial Times Data Calculator
Is this tool accurate? Well, the best way to check is to ask the pros directly. You may do so from your desktop. If you have a Facebook account for instance, go on the upper left corner and select the wheel-shaped icon to create an advert.
Then enter a website (for instance your own blog).
and then you will be presented with a dashboard of geographic and socio-demographic options to select. The value, (calculated per exposure or per click) will be automatically updated.
In the examples below, I compare the USA as a whole for anyone 13 upwards, versus a more targeted group in the UK.
As you can see, in either case, the value quoted by the financial times is within the min/max values quoted by facebook.
So if we are worth so little, what is the fuss all about? This is probably to do with different valuation approaches; the above is a commercial approach.
As individual, we overwhelmingly think of ourselves as humans with thoughts, feelings and relations that go well beyond the transactional. If we were (or better still, those who love you) were to put a value it would tend to be infinite because no amount of money could replace who we are.