jueves, 13 de agosto de 2015

"What stays in Vegas" - Adam Tanner

In a world of free services, we are the product. Internet has extended the usage of our personal data as the currency to exchange for knowledge, communication and personalised services. In spite of what it is a extended thought, Internet has been only the accelerator and not the origin of the usage of personal data for commercial purposes.

The book written by Adam Tanner is a detailed and entertaining review of the story of the commercial usage of personal data in the USA. Taking as a thread the evolution of personal data handling in a casino company, the author describes the main actors and practices the personal data industry and its evolution since the XIX century.

For the average European reader, the main discover of the book is the US data brokers industry. A sector allowed by the weak US data protection laws, they claim their role as a pivotal partner in B2C trade. According with the data provided by the author, US firms spent more than $168.5 billion in direct marketing services mainly provided by data brokers. The existence of such a powerful industry explains why several trials to introduce more strict personal data regulations in the US has failed.

Excellent book to think about personal data handling and its future. The need for more personal awareness of the value of our data, the debate on the legítimacy of personal data trade, the demand of a more transparent personal data handling and right of choice of the consumer about the usage of his data are issues that should be tackled in a global manner in our hyperconnected world.

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