How Much Is Your Data Worth? This Kasper­sky Exper­i­ment Will Tell You


The amount of personal data being put out in the world by every unique individual is constantly increasing by the day — be it your contact information, text messages or pictures on social media or data in any other form that can be linked back to you. But uneven and faltering privacy standards pose a huge threat to the concept in the long run.

Data Centre

So, Kaspersky ran a two-day-long experiment on September 6 and 7 where they opened a ‘Data Dollar Store’ in Shoreditch, London. There, they began selling exclusive t-shirts, mugs, and prints specially designed by famous native street artist Ben Eine.

But there’s a catch. The ‘Data Dollar’ store doesn’t accept your usual currency in exchange for the goods being sold. Instead, customers have to pay with their personal data ranging from text messages to photos to get their hands on a merchandise.

Data Dollar Store: What and Why?

People at Kaspersky conducted this experiment looking for answers to the following questions:

  • How much could all the data being put out by individuals cost?
  • Will people be willing to exchange data for some goods?

So, they set up a shop where people could use their personal data as a currency.

Kaspersky Data Dollar

In order to buy any of the merchandise, people will have to pay in data dollars that requires them to share stuff like their photos or WhatsApp conversations.

These photos and conversations were then displayed on a screen inside the store for the entire span of two days that it was operational. The store charged 5 WhatsApp conversations from the customer’s phone for a single t-shirt.

Are you willing to exchange your personal photo for a mug?

While a number of the customers agreed to give their data in exchange for the t-shirt, were particularly riled by the idea of the exchange after giving it some thought in most of the cases.

Aim of the Data Dollar Store

The aim of the pop-up shop was to help spread awareness about data privacy and make people realize the amount of data they’re uploading to the Internet and how important it is to protect it.

Data Dollar1

“We subscribe to services that collect our data, process it and sell it, giving us something like a social network platform or movies on demand in exchange. Most of the time we don’t even read those terms of agreement and jump right into sharing our private data with everyone,” the company stated.

“The most important thing to understand is that your data costs as much as you value it. So give it a high enough price and protect it properly – so that privacy and personal information can still exist in the future.”

Let us know in the comments how you feel about sharing your data in exchange for goods.

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Bike enthusiast, traveller, ManUtd follower, army brat, word-smith; Delhi University, Asian College of Journalism, Cardiff University alumnus; a journalist breathing tech these days.