Study Determines Personal Data Worth via Android App

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Nov 22, 2008
I have a feeling that George Clooney's personal data are valued higher as, say, mine... :)
How much a dataset is worth very much depends on the data source and the buyer as different products/services are aimed at a different market.


Sep 24, 2010
I don't think that this will really do much of anything. How much we value our personal information might not be how much a company or governement would value it. Egotistical people will probably say they want exorbitant amounts of money for their data, people with little self esteem or whatever might not think it's worth much of anything. People with no understanding of this could have widely varying costs.

All that this will tell us is how much the volunteers for this program think that their data is worth. Beyond that, it doesn't collect all of the same data that the companies and governments collect (for a good reason, to not infringe on privacy, but it means that this won't correlate to real data collection from companies and such even as poorly as it already seemed like it would).

It's an interesting idea, but I seem to have failed to see the importance of what it will accomplish. I don't intend to sign up for it.


Jul 1, 2010
I think a better yet similar project would be to have a list of all the data a smartphone collects without your knowing (it's a lot) and randomly ask people about information from that list and if they would be willing to give that info to you via a yes / no prompt, then release a report on what smartphones are stealing without your consent that the average user would not be willing to part with.


I'm Bernadette, one of the researchers on the project. What we aim at with this project is not just getting an idea of actual prices that people demand. The questions also aim to understand what it is that drives those prices, what makes information more or less valuabel? But most of all we aim to generate awareness of the issue and to get the ball rolling. The more participants we get, the stronger our empirical argument. And yes in order to not infringe on privacy we are assessing an abstracted version of what apps often actually assess (e.g. you would tell us that you are out in the street rather than us knowing exactly where). This makes the project ethical. And it is sufficient to tell us what influence location, etc. has on the perceived value of information.

The app really isn't time consuming (the longest is the initial questionnaire and it is not overly long either) and hope that you'll support us with a download.
Any questions or comments, please contact us on
We will also be running a workshop presenting some preliminary results in early June. If you would like to participate, let us know via the webpage.
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