Andrew Yang Launches Program To Advocate For Americans’ Data Property Rights

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang speaks at the National Action Networks Southeast Regional Conference on November 21, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Elijah Nouvelage / Getty Images

Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang launched a project on Monday to advocate for Americans’ data property rights. The Data Dividend Project (DDP) is a program that aims to use privacy laws, such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), to drive a data-as-your-property movement that helps Californians get paid for the personal data harvested by companies like Facebook and Google.

“Passing the CCPA was a huge win, and our movement is committed to acting on that legislation to benefit Californians,” Yang said.

“With tens of thousands of Californians signed up to participate in the Data Dividend Project, we’ll be able to advocate for compensation and send a powerful message to lawmakers and tech companies that our data is ours – and if anyone deserves to be paid for its use, it is us.”

Under the CCPA, which went into effect on January 1, consumers have more privacy rights and control over their personal information. However, as reported by The Verge, the CCPA legislation does not address consumer payment for data. Yang’s new project is intended to raise awareness on the issue and fuel collective action to establish data property rights across the United States. According to a press release, the Humanity Forward founder plans to work with technology and legal entrepreneurs to push the DDP movement forward. If data property rights are established, Yang intends to use the team to help consumers get paid.

“We are completely outgunned by tech companies,” Yang said in a conversation with The Verge.

“We’re just presented with these terms and conditions. No one ever reads them.”

With Yang’s project, users must provide the email addresses they use online, which helps the team determine how many platforms are profiting of each person’s data. In addition, users are asked to provide their PayPal information, so any money gained from platforms in the future can be transferred into the account.

Although legislation addressing data property rights has been introduced in Congress, nothing has succeeded in gaining momentum thus far. As reported by The Daily Dot, Yang pushed the idea of data property rights during his now-suspended 2020 presidential campaign. He claimed that data is currently more valuable than oil and pushed for consumer control over such information.

“If anyone benefits from our data it should be us,” Yang said when announced his campaign proposal.

As The Inquisitr reported, a previous study found that seven in 10 smartphone apps share user data with third-party tracking companies and libraries, which can enable developers to earn money.