It is claimed that data is the new oil. The top tier of the world’s most valuable companies are being built on this new economy. In another Economist article the problem of a market place for data is highlighted.

New regulations are recognising the rights of individuals and their personal data in this new economy – GDPR being a recent example. The large data holders such as Alphabet (Google), Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple have business models built over years that may not easily adapt to the new citizen’s rights in this data driven economy and they will almost certainly fall foul of regulations such as GDPR.

New business models that are compliant with emerging data economy regulations will provide commercial opportunities for small nimble companies and start-ups. Data markets are emerging and some propose the use new crypto-currencies and smart contracts to trade with this data. Again, related to blockchain technologies there are methods that can be used to track the ownership and restrict the use of this data, and new techniques are being developed to fully anonymise data within aggregated datasets. This may look like the technology Wild West right now but there are a lot of smart people out there innovating who are determined to play their part in the new data driven economy.

The enlightened approach is, of course, to develop business models that acknowledge citizen’s data rights, that accept there is value in their data and that with the user’s permission it can be accessed in exchange for services, products, crypto-currency tokens or even cash.