Andrew Yang Says He Would ‘Establish Data As A Property Right’ To Help Americans Share In Its Value

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang delivers a 20-minute campaign speech at the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair August 09, 2019 in Des Moines, Iowa.
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Tech-savvy Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, who recently received support from Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk, took to Twitter Tuesday to highlight his plan to establish data as a property right and help Americans share in the value of the data they often unknowingly create.

“Data is now more valuable than oil,” he tweeted. “The data we generate gets monetized in myriad ways while we are increasingly subject to advertising and see none of the value ourselves. I would establish data as a property right for us to share in its use and value.”

Yang’s policy page on the subject highlights that data collectors own the data they collect and can use it in any way they want. He claims that some companies don’t do enough to protect consumer data while others sell the data to disreputable companies.

“As of now, that data is owned by the people who collect it, and they’re allowed to do anything they want with it,” his policy page reads. “They’ve sold it, used it to target us with advertisements, and have analyzed the vast quantity of data to draw conclusions on whole populations, allowing them to monetize it.”

The Conversation reports that one study found that seven in 10 smartphone apps share data with third-party tracking companies. These apps reportedly collect data to be used on the phone itself as well as for other purposes. In addition, these apps sometimes send data to third-party libraries that can help developers earn money through ads, track user engagement, and connect with social media.

RealClearPolitics reports that Yang currently has an average of 1.3 percent support in polls. Although he is a long shot to win, his recent endorsement from Musk and well-received performance in the July debates has helped raise his profile.

The 44-year-old entrepreneur also recently became the ninth candidate to make the fall debates in September and October along with Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren.

According to The Hill, the remaining candidates are now scrambling to make the fall debate requirements. Julian Castro and Tulsi Gabbard have both met the donor requirements and now need 2 percent in four approved polls. Castro just needs one more DNC-approved poll and appears to have the best shot of being the 10th candidate to take the stage this fall.

The remaining candidates have until August 28 to qualify, which gives them less than three weeks ⁠— not a long time in the context of the presidential race.