Recapturing our identities: Enabling citizens to own & monetise our personal data

The big idea

The most powerful asset of the digital age is data. And data is really a new asset class, maybe bigger than other asset classes, like land under the agrarian economy, or an industrial plant, or even money. And all of you — we — create this data. We create this asset, and we leave this trail of digital crumbs behind us as we go throughout life. And these crumbs are collected into a mirror image of you, the virtual you. And the virtual you may know more about you than you do because you can’t remember what you bought a year ago, or said a year ago, or your exact location a year ago. And the virtual you is not owned by you — that’s the big problem.
So today, there are companies working to create an identity in a black box, the virtual you owned by you. And this black box moves around with you as you travel throughout the world, and it’s very, very stingy. It only gives away the shred of information that’s required to do something. A lot of transactions, the seller doesn’t even need to know who you are. They just need to know that they got paid.
And then this avatar is sweeping up all of this data and enabling you to monetize it. And this is a wonderful thing because it can also help us protect our privacy, and privacy is the foundation of a free society. Let’s get this asset that we create back under our control, where we can own our own identity and manage it responsibly.