Over last couple of years online privacy and security have taken center stage after Facebook’s role in spreading false information has become well documented. As most of the internet companies make profit by using consumer data, it’s not surprising to see users on these platforms are getting more cautious about what they are sharing over internet. Despite that, internet companies are notorious for sharing data to third-parties and now, a new bill requires popular companies such as Google and Facebook to disclose information on the worth of user data.
Senators Mark Warner and Josh Hawley has introduced the new bill which will require companies to disclose the value of users’ data. Talking about the bill, Warner said, “People don’t realize one, how much data is being collected — and two, they don’t realize how much that data is worth.”
The news first came via Axios on HBO which reported that the senators introduced the bill as the Designing Accounting Safeguards to Help Broaden Oversight and Regulations on Data Act (DASHBOARD) which would require companies that generate revenue through data and have over 100 million monthly users to disclose the information on how the data was collected. Moreover, the companies will be required to provide an estimated value of the data they collected once every 90 days.
Apart from this, internet companies will be responsible for reporting the aggregated value of user data including contracts with third parties for data collection and how the revenue is generated by the user data to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Afterwards, the SEC would develop methods to calculate the actual value of user data.
However, companies already are aware of the value of user information. For instance, back in 2018 Facebook said that it would need to charge between $11 and $14 per month to provide an advertisement free social network.
As for the bill, it is intended to help customers of similar companies to understand what are they giving up in exchange for free services by demanding companies to become more transparent regarding the data in the coming years.