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MadHATTERs New York: The 7 Trillion Dollar Secret Economy

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Gabelli School of Business McNally Amphitheatre

140 West 62 Street

New York, NY 10023

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Join Prof. Irene Ng, Director at the Universities of Warwick and Cambridge Wolfson Fellow to talk about data, value, and the future of digital markets.

Co-hosted by the Gabelli School of Business and the HAT Community Foundation International


The 7 Trillion Dollar Secret Economy

From Organization-Controlled to Individual-Controlled Data


99.9% of personal data, currently held across the Internet, is collected, analysed, and controlled by corporations big and small. Their practices are diverse. Some are in fear, anxious to risk the fallout of personal data mistreatment, and a few are going so far as to shut down basic functionalities of their services.

Across the pond, we could be handing the digital market for personal data to businesses that operate outside the EU, as organizations who are cautious of change ignore the opportunity for progress.

And then, still other entities hoover up data to sell Ð with or without the flimsy veneer of permission. The stewardship bodies which guide our societies and economy could provide guidance on this, and the data management and governance of our environment, but they should also strive to grasp the innovative opportunities in personal data.

My interest in the personal data economy lies in its economic impact. This market needs a design, and an alignment of incentives. Personal data interaction demands a regulatory and a market-based framework. We should be aiming for human flourishing, and I am mindful that while choice and the empowerment of the individual is key, it is for us to decide whether we want to flourish. The decision cannot be taken for us by another entity, in the name of human flourishing.

Let us as a society establish the existence of the two distinct types of personal data: Organisation Controlled Personal Data (OPD) and Person Controlled Personal Data (PPD). These are bringing a wave of new innovation to our digital environment. Where Facebook data (held by Facebook) is OPD, that same data held by private citizens, privately, is PPD. And PPD is potentially the most powerful force our society has yet created.

Facebook's average revenue per user in the US and Canada was $62 in 2016. Now, it's not like each individual Facebook user could use their own data to make $62 a year - some of the value from data is only derived from its huge scale, and Facebook has to spend money to create the infrastructure to gather data and show adverts. Instead, each individual Facebook user could be earning far more.

By 2020 the value of European citizens' personal data is expected to reach 1 trillion EUR solely in our market. It is expected to grow to almost 8 per cent of the total union's GDP in 2020. Here in America, that number would be larger than the 5 largest industries contributing to GDP combined.

I advocate for the unlocking of this multi-trillion dollar new digital economy.

Professor Irene Ng is a Director at the University of Warwick and Wolfson College Fellow at the University of Cambridge. An academic and an entrepreneur, she was the Founder and CEO of SA Tours and Travel and Empress Cruise Lines, which she exited in 1996. Irene is now the Founder and Chairman of the Hub of All Things (HAT) Foundation (http://hubofallthings.com) personal data Internet platform, and advises several organisations, startups, and governments on the design of markets, economic, and business models as an EPSRC/Innovate UK Caucus Thought Leader, an ESRC/AIM Services Fellow, and the ESRC/NIHR Fellow.

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Gabelli School of Business McNally Amphitheatre

140 West 62 Street

New York, NY 10023

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