I propose we create a new category of consumer. The way we do that is by some of us announcing that we are, in fact, consumers of this new type. I propose that some number of us (myself included) proclaim ourselves to the world (on the public record) that we the type of consumers who #VolunteerInformation. In the spirit of free software embracing both “free as in beer” and “free as in speech” (or free as in freedom), I want the world to know that by “volunteer” I mean both “volunteer as in voluntary” and “volunteer as in unpaid.” The latter provision is every bit as important as the former, as I believe that monetization necessarily implies value subtraction (or at least the delivery of diminished value by the imposition of artificial rivalry and excludability). For such consumers as myself (and hopefully I can recruit numerous others) it would be ideal if clinical facilities have easy access to our “data donor cards” as well as any “organ donor cards” we may or may not have. Perhaps open data licenses, like open software licences, can come with some restrictions regarding proprietary use, or at least require publication of findings in open access journals. Perhaps a data donor card itself can be rigged in such a way that “reading” the card automatically triggers data transmission into the public realm, sort of like some of those cop-cam apps that supposedly share video in real time. If there can be a data donor card for clinical use, why not for point of sale use and perhaps other uses?
Of course there are privacy concerns, but let’s all step back three feet and recall why privacy is of value in the first place. Here’s a hint: It’s not of value only to those who “have something to hide.” For most of us it’s most likely to be of value when we have reason to “play our cards close to the vest,” such as negotiating things like wages or prices. Well, guess what? The business community (in this context it really is that monolithic) already knows your “price points” and “pain points,” and the location of all the “cliffs” in your own personal many-dimensional “utility function.” After all, a business doesn’t have to be a “tech giant” to have purchased enough “data products” from “HR consulting firms” or “marketing consulting firms” to have a decisively advantageous level of #InformationAsymmetry relative to a mere individual. Even if you’re applying for a job with a small business, you probably had to sign away your privacy rights as part of the process, and your life is an utterly open book to them already. Privacy is already a lost cause, and the reasons are rooted in technology and not amenable to legal reforms. Thinking about it in terms of opportunity cost, whatever privacy you lose (donate!) to the public domain has already been lost to the data silos. Plus you get to stick it to the man, at least in a small way, by diluting the exchange value (which exists only due to exclusivity) of the data confidentiality you’ve already lost to the proprietary version of knowledge discovery.