Business models that thrive on user data have created profitable global technology companies. For comparison, market capitalization of just three tech companies, Google (Alphabet), Facebook and Amazon, combined is higher than the total market capitalization of all listed firms in India. Almost 98% of Facebook’s revenue and 84% of Alphabet’s come from serving targeted advertising powered by data collected from the users. No doubt, these tech companies provide valuable services to consumers. It is also true that profits are concentrated with private corporations and societal value for contributors of data, that is, the user, can be much more significant.
Internet users experience targeted advertising everywhere: ads for buying airline tickets show up when you search for images of Bali beaches, and a smart TV set on an e-commerce site that you casually clicked on follows you on every website.
In the existing economic construct, private firms are able to deploy top scientists and sophisticated analytical tools to collect data, derive value and monetize the insights.
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