How much do you think your personal data is worth?
A cybersecurity firm called Kaspersky Lab forced consumers to ask themselves that question this week with a pop-up shop in London that only let you buy products by giving up some personal data.
In partnership with London street artist Ben Eine, Kaspersky Lab ran the experiential pop-up called The Data Dollar Store, in the Old Street underground station. The aim was to push consumers to recognize the value of their personal data. The products, including artwork by Eine, could only be purchased using “Data Dollars”—photos, emails, and messages from the consumer’s phone. The personal data was then displayed on two full-length screens in the shop’s window.
Kaspersky Lab found that 29% of people worldwide have been victim to a cyberattack, but that 39% leave their phones unprotected. Studies also found that people would give away emotionally valuable data for small amounts. Kaspersky Lab created the pop-up as a means to highlight the value of an individual’s personal data, in the hopes that consumers would better protect themselves.
Ben Eine agreed with the aim, telling CNET that he’s concerned about how personal data is used and why we’re “not rewarded for giving this information away. Companies use that information and target us to sell products, to feed us information that we wouldn’t necessarily look at. And I thought this is good opportunity to raise awareness.”
According to Engadget, the costs were as follows: three photos or screenshots of Whatsapp, SMS, and email conversations for a mug; the last three photos on your camera roll or last three messages for a t-shirt; and for an original print, you had to hand over your entire phone. A staff member would then select five photos or three screenshots to be used.
With nearly 70,000 people passing through Old Street Station each day, the price of giving up that selfie in exchange for an original print seems just a tiny bit higher.