All along, there were those money rumors. Sorenson denied them.
Under the deal, immigrants who are in the country illegally must be informed of their right to a hearing before an immigration judge. The ACLU was representing nine Mexicans and three organizations.
So, what is your online activity worth? You know: social media posts, web history, GPS location—the works. Right now, data brokers trade with advertisers in a multi-billion dollar market. There are also a bunch of new ways you can sell your own data. But it may not add up to as much as you would hope.
Big data brokers like Acxiom want to create a precise file on you. They want to know things like how much money you make and where you shop – online and in person.
Matt Hogan says amassing an accurate, personal file filled with info is no easy task. “If you're Acxiom, you're the largest data broker, you're cobbling together all these different piece-meal, publicly available, stale, maybe leaked data sources and what you get is a profile that is not correct.”
Hogan is the founder of Datacoup, a start-up where consumers can sell their data directly to advertisers. He says his platform gives marketers a clearer picture of consumers, and it will give consumers some return for their data. “Why not sell your information?" he asks. "Companies already do it.”
The information sold through Datacoup is currently anonymous, and not tied to a user's identity. Still, it's an advertiser's dream—disparate information from our online lives all packaged up and sent straight from the source: us. Datacoup pays users $10 a month for it all.
Katryna Dow, CEO of a start-up called Meeco, says your info will soon be worth much more. Meeco allows users to hide data from outsiders and record it themselves. The personal information users save could become more valuable in the future, especially as their files becomes fatter and fatter.
Dow says, “there's no reason why you wouldn't take information from your teen years and mash it up with time in your twenties or thirties or forties which just makes that core data more valuable.” She says that information may have all kinds of unforeseeable applications ten years down the road.
Dow envisions private data becoming a kind of cryptocurrency in a “Me Economy.” It could be used in transactions to purchase items and get discounts, or even secure mortgages, loans, and insurance. In a way, it would alter how we define personal identity.
All this terrifies Jeffrey Chester at the Center for Digital Democracy.
“A huge depersonalized system has emerged that treats bits of our self like we were simply hog bellies at a commodities market,” he says. “Our data is much more valuable than just a few dollars a month it might bring us. It is really the key to who we are as, as human beings.”
Trying to put a price on that, he says, is a dangerous thing.
By the way, you can find out what Axciom knows about you through a website they launched: www.aboutthedata.com. But beware: It requires you to input some personal information. And its Private Policy section discloses that the company may use that data at a later date.
When the monthly jobs report comes out Friday, many eyes will undoubtedly shoot to the unemployment rate. But that number alone doesn't tell the whole story.
"It's gotten harder [to figure the unemployment rate] because Americans have become less willing to respond to surveys of all kinds," says David Leonhardt, columnist and editor of the Upshot at the New York Times.
A large part of that, Leonhardt says, is our changing behavior when it comes to answering our phones.
"Think back to 1975 — you're sitting at home, your phone rings, you have no idea who it is, you pick it up, it's a pollster, you're willing to answer it," he says. "Today, you've got your cell phone, you don't even have a landline, it may be harder for the poll firms to figure out where you are and thus [how] to reach you. But it's also a case of, you see '888' pop up and you think to yourself, 'I'm not answering that.'"
It's a reminder, Leonhardt says, that the unemployment numbers aren't the be-all, end-all of economic data.
"I would encourage some people to take the attention that now goes to the unemployment rate and shift it to job growth, which actually comes from a larger survey of businesses, or look at the number of Americans who are employed, which captures this phenomenon of discouraged workers," Leonhardt says.
Some governments recently said that agricultural investments should supply "culturally acceptable food." Now they're trying to define what that is.
Warning: this is not for the arachnophobes among you.
Suzuki has had to recall 19,000 of its mid-sized cars because of spider webs in the fuel lines.
It turns out spiders are attracted to gasoline vapors. They build webs in gas tank vent lines. Those lines get blocked. Gas tanks get damaged.
And oh, by the way, THERE ARE SPIDERS IN YOUR GAS TANK.
Venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers made a pretty breathtaking bet today. It agreed to invest in Snapchat in a deal that values the company at nearly $10 billion. Snapchat is a social network where people share photos that self-destruct within 1-10 seconds.
It seems like things go this way. One day, you're a struggling start-up, making no profit, paying people in stock options...
and the next...
Someone is telling you’re worth almost as much as the GDP of Iceland.
James McQuivey is an analyst at Forrester Research. I asked him what exactly Snapchat’s 100 million users share with the service.
"Among my children, it's really just 'this is what my face looks like in response to something that I just read or heard or saw or a song that I’m listening to.' It’s a way of expressing emotions… think of it as a live emoticon."
But can Snapchat be a face that launches 10 billion real dollars?
"Not even... It’s about $9 billion too much," says tech analyst Rob Enderle. Enderle says Snapchat doesn’t know how it plans to spin its 100 million users into money yet. Still, he says, in today’s overheated tech sector, the nuts and bolts of the business plan take a backseat to the buzz.
"There’s two ways you can value a company: One of them is legitimately based on how much money they’re returning to investors and the other is based on screwy math largely based on the hopes and dreams of those that think that social networks every place should be made of gold and honey."
The question now is whether SnapChat has the makings of a social media Cinderella…or will end up being an ugly stepsister.
Enderle says it’s all about where Google and Facebook drop their magic. Messaging service WhatsApp had no profit plan and only 55 employees, and Facebook snapped it up for $20 billion.
We'll just have to wait and see how the story ends for Snapchat.
The Department of Homeland Security is settling a lawsuit with the ACLU, which deals with immigrants who were improperly pushed to leave the country.