The logic being that, in using these services, you are giving away valuable personal information, which can be used to gain revenue from targetted advertising. It’s a sort of digital prostitution ring that is making Google around $30bn a year, including an estimated $2bn in France. In light of these galling facts, the report concludes, France should introduce a tax on the collection of personal data.
It’s not quite right to say that internet users are giving away their information. Access to “free” services like Google or Facebook relies on a value exchange and it is your data that is being exchanged. A general haziness around what value that data represents means most people accept this deal. After all, would you be prepared to pay “real money” to fund your Google Chat habit? Research shows you’re paying Google around $5,000 in personal data in exchange for its services. Given the option to pay that $5,000 via cash, credit or cookies, I imagine most people would plump for the cookies.
Let’s run through this. Using Google’s turnover, not profits, just because it’s easier.
So, a Google customer is giving Google $5k a year in information. And Google has a $50 billion turnover. Thus Google has 10 million customers.
Does Google have 10 million customers? No, they don’t: it’s more like 1 billion. Thus each customer must be giving Google $50 worth of information then.
Which, if you actually click through that link marked “research” is what is said: customers are giving Google $50 to $5,000 a year’s worth of information.
Why is it that these people cannot actually do simple numbers? They are the technocrats who insist that the world can and should be planned: but they can’t even sodding add.