Paying with Data: How Free Services Aren't Free

A session at SXSW Interactive 2011

Sunday 13th March, 2011

3:30pm to 4:30pm (CST)

Until privacy advocates start freaking out about Facebook privacy settings or default broadcast settings on Google Buzz, the general population doesn't quite understand just how much data they are offering up in exchange for use of free services on the internet. Just think: Facebook has your birthday, maiden name, maybe even pets' name; Google Voice has your cell number, your complete email history, your credit card, your browsing history, and in aggregate these individual data points add up to your online identity. Each field filled out, each click gets translated into data-driven product improvements or are used to serve up increasingly targeted advertisements.

Chris Anderson has explored the paradigm of "free" economics, but the concept hasn't been taken far enough to perhaps suggest that we think of each data point as an economic transaction occurring between the user and the service provider, even in these "free" services. This panel will explore the idea that perhaps all user inputs should be thought of as micro-transactions of data in order to better understand the burden of the data exposure implicit in those exchanges.

LEVEL: Beginner

About the speakers

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Julia Angwin

Journalist bio from Twitter

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Arvind Narayanan

Researcher at Stanford. I tweet about information privacy and security, tech policy, web tech, science. bio from Twitter

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Sara Marie Watson

Researching, thinking, and writing about personal data and the internet. Lived in Chongqing for a year. Starting @oiioxford this fall. bio from Twitter

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Sam Yagan

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Time 3:30pm4:30pm CST

Date Sun 13th March 2011


Room 9ABC, Austin Convention Center

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