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Andrew Yang’s Data Dividend Project wants Big Tech to pay you for your data

The focus will be on California at first, with plans to extend to more states in the future.

andrew yang speaking on stage
Image: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

It’s no secret that many of us have various social profiles that put near-endless amounts of our data out in the world. This data is used by companies for a variety of things, and we freely give it away to them. Andrew Yang, most known for his “Freedom Dividend” project of giving Americans $1,000 a month, is now looking at Big Tech and compensation for all of the data we give these companies.

At its core, the Data Dividend Project wants to treat data like property and believes companies should have to pay for the right to use that data. According to the website set up for the project, “[The] primary objective is to establish and enforce data property rights under laws such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which went into effect on January 1, 2020.

Yang isn’t the first person to propose a similar measure. In March of 2019, Jon Kennedy, a Republican senator out of Louisana, introduced the Own Your Own Data Act which would “prohibit the collection of private data by social media companies and grant users the property rights to all of the data that they generate on the internet.”

Other senators have had similar discussions, but that was more focused on putting an actual price tag on our data, so users could see what that data was worth to this multi-billion dollar companies.

The Data Dividend Project is currently asking for supporters to sign up at this link and provide email addresses associated with all the online platforms they use. That information would be used to create a full profile of the user and the data companies are collecting from them. You’ll also need to provide your phone number to confirm your account. In addition, it asks for your PayPal email address, so if payments are to happen, they can quickly and easily be deposited into your account.

Andrew Yang tells The Verge, “It’s that first day that people get paid their dividend through DDP for All is going to be such a great day because you can imagine thousands and even tens of thousands of Americans getting something in their PayPal or Cash App. Even something like $20, $50, or $100, and they’ll tell their friends, and we can change practices industry-wide.”

What do you think? Do you think that Data Dividend Project is a good idea? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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