EMMAs

Tech giants may be forced to tell users how much their data is worth

Alyssa Clementi

Today, US senators Mark Warner (D-VA.) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) are introducing legislation that would require big tech companies such as Facebook, Google, and Amazon to disclose how much each user’s data is worth, according to Axios on HBO. The bill, named the Designing Accounting Safeguards to Help Broaden Oversight and Regulations on Data Act, or DASHBOARD, would require platforms to put a monetary value on any data collected from internet users.

As part of the act, companies that have over 100m monthly users would need to release a detailed report every 90 days, which highlights “the types of data collected, how it is used, and to provide an assessment of the value of that data”. While some users’ data is worth $5 and some is worth $15, no consumers will receive a payout if the bill passes.

"These companies take enormous, enormous amounts of data about us... If you're an avid Facebook user, chances are Facebook knows more about you than the U.S. government knows about you. People don't realize one, how much data is being collected; and two, they don't realize how much that data is worth,” said senator Mark Warner on Axios on HBO.

The bill would also require all involved companies to disclose an annual report to the Security and Exchanges Committee, which outlines all contracts with third parties for data collection, how much revenue is coming from user data, and which methods of data protection the company is practicing. 

"If they're not willing to work with us on this kind of, I think, rational, focused reform, then I may very quickly join the crowd that simply says, 'you know, let's break them up,'" said Warner. "And I say that as somebody who was a technology entrepreneur longer than I've been a senator."