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data + social media + mobile + location = $ 1 trillion market

With so much debate around privacy in the online world, the central argument is the link between data access and monetisation. If Google and Foursquare can't have access to what we are doing and where are we, they can't make money from providing services to us. Gerd Leonhard sums it up this way to describe what Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook is doing, "I give your private information to corporations for money. And I'm man of the year"

Gerd estimates that data + social media + mobile + location to be a $ 1 trillion market. Not many economies in the world are of this size, so no wonder companies and new start-ups are rushing to capture this market.

The key question to me is how much consumers are aware that their data is being sold to a third party. Terms and conditions need to be simplified so that they know what they are signing up for. Even the simplified privacy settings now introduced by social media companies are confusing.

If people don't want to be tracked, they have a choice not to sign up for a free service. Or simply turn off the cookies! I see an emergence of companies who will offer services that will match up to Gmail but will offer greater privacy and control, but will sell their services for a nominal fee- say $5 per year for a 10 GB storage. Already there are many, but I am talking of companies that will match the service offerings of Gmail. Similarly for all other online services. Probably at that stage, even Google will start offering differentiated product with greater privacy control, that can be managed easily.

A market is not free unless the choice is simple and clear. 


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