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Your Data Should Belong to You — and not to the Big Tech Companies

Andrew Yang

June 22

During my campaign, I argued that our data should be ours. That sounds obvious, but today, big tech companies and data brokers are selling and re-selling our data every day, and we are none the wiser.

This is a very big deal. Facebook today is a $650 billion company built largely upon the monetization of our data. How much of that value are we seeing? We have increasingly become commodified and packaged for those who want to occupy our attention.

They are not just profiting from these practices. They are also influencing our actions and attitudes by feeding us information that maximizes our engagement above all else. We are being pushed in specific directions to the detriment of our democracy, mental health, and free will. Instead of having things sold to us, we ourselves have become the product, and we are being sold to those with the means to buy access to every detail about our behavior — and to shape what we do next.

The question is, what do we do about it?

I am thrilled to say that there is a new law on the books that will enable us to fight for our data property rights. California’s Consumer Privacy Act — the CCPA — became effective on January 1. It stipulates that every Californian has the right to know what personal information is being collected, the right to access that data, the right to know who it’s being sold to, and the right to opt out of those sales. Tech companies are currently lobbying California regulators to water down how these rights will be enforced — but they will be enforced starting on July 1. Nevada has already passed a similar law, and multiple other states are looking to do the same.

To drive this effort, Humanity Forward has partnered with a new organization — the Data Dividend Project — to help fight for YOUR data rights. We know that the average citizen is completely outgunned and in the dark about how to take back control of your data. The tech companies have billions of dollars and hundreds of lawyers. What does the average citizen have? The Data Dividend Project aims to gather together hundreds of thousands of Americans to collectively bargain to take back your data rights that are currently being exploited by the big technology companies and data brokers. They won’t listen to anything but a unified voice.

It’s called the Data Dividend Project because the goal is to change the status quo so that, if you choose to share your data, YOU can get paid for the use of your data. After all, if anyone is making money off of your data, shouldn’t it be you? This is another way we can get money into people’s hands now instead of waiting for Congress to get its act together.

If this sounds good to you, go to ddpforall.com to help power this consumer revolution. And tell your friends to do the same. It’s very quick and easy. And after they get their dividend too, they’ll thank you and owe you dinner.

I hope you’re as excited about the Data Dividend Project as I am. Let’s fight for humanity and give us control back of our own future, our own data, and our own property. It’s ours already — we just need to take it back.

- Andrew

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