What says that people can’t have control on their data? We never actually tried. In the US, UK and France, there are right now nationwide programs which evaluate the possibility of a world where people have control on their data.
The idea is not to mount a wall between companies and their customers, but rather to empower people with their data and allow big companies and start-up alike to create new services from people’s data. The concept behind this line of thinking is called Vendor Relationship Management (VRM).
Not only marketing data is quickly obsolete (as you said, it’s constantly flowing), but the data is siloed (which is why Google spends lots of money buying databases) and a lot of guesswork is put into the design of new services. What if people had all their data (health, insurance, banking, telecomunications, ID…) in a personal data store and allowed companies to connect to it, on a one-app-at-a-time basis? Heaps of new ideas could emerge and new players would have the possibility to create apps tailored just for you without having to guess or spend money in shady databases.
It raises several questions: what about security? Can people really manage their data? An organisation called La Fing is experimenting the idea in France to get some answers. The project is called MesInfos, And big companies are tagging along (Banking institutions, Telcoms, Insurance companies , and even Google).
But what’s clear right now, is that the situation – with big companies hoarding our personal data without giving much control back on it – is not a fatality. And there are certainly better answers than “Protect all your data” or “Put a price on it”.