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Sep 11, 2019

The key question for the new economy: who owns the data?

Posted by in category: economics

The essence of the issue is property rights, which now extend to rights over individuals’ personal data. Traditionally, property rights referred to control of tangible assets, such as gold or oil, or control of intangible assets like patents and copyrights. In the digital era, technology can create huge amounts of intangible assets from individuals’ data without their knowledge. How the data is used could bring not only great benefits but also, potentially, great harm. This raises a crucial question: who has the right to control over these new assets?


Recognising and protecting property rights to each individual’s data or all individuals’ data is vital to determining the fate of the new economy.

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