#DataProtectionLessons: the price of privacy

“How much is your data worth? A few words about the challenges of monetisation of personal data” was the topic of a webinar in the #DataProtectionLessons series for students, delivered on 7 February 2023 on the Safe Internet Day.

- “An introduction to the topic of monetisation of personal data will allow you to better understand the perspective of the value of data, not only through the prism of the purchasing power of money, but also from the point of view of the freedom and dignity of every human being,” said Marta Mikołajczyk, coordinator of the nationwide educational programme “Your Data - Your Concern”, welcoming the participants to the meeting.

At present, the phenomenon of assigning a specific monetary value to personal data is spreading, which is a growing challenge related to the development of the data economy. Personal data of Internet users is often treated as a consideration for 'free' digital services or for discounts on online products and services.

During the webinar, teachers and students were introduced to the concept of data monetisation. The expert from the Polish SA presented three new business models: free benefits, Personal Data Economy (PDE) and Paying For Privacy (PFP), in which the acquired personal data of customers is a key element of doing business especially for technology companies.

Sometimes companies take advantage of consumers' ignorance about what value the data concerning them have and the risks of using their personal data to generate profit. Therefore, among the issues discussed, the expert of the Personal Data Protection Office also drew the attention of the audience to the risks associated with sharing data in the aforementioned models. These include data leaks, potential discrimination and unequal access to privacy, or the use of sensitive data, e.g. health data, as well as children's data, for the purpose of building a competitive advantage in business.

The lesson, aimed at teachers and secondary schools students, also aimed to make young people aware that personal data are a value in themselves, as they directly relate to an individual's fundamental rights. It is the level of awareness and maturity of the specific person that largely determines whether and how he or she cares about the security of his or her personal data.

The past lesson was another meeting organised by the Polish SA as part of the #DataProtectionLessons series, which serves to spread knowledge about privacy and personal data protection among young people. The webinar series is implemented as part of the 13th edition of the 'Your Data - Your Concern' programme. The webinar was also the main event organised by the Office in connection with the Safe Internet Day, which falls on 7 February.