Intel Fuels a Rebellion Around Your Data

20. May 2013

Date: 20-05-2013
Source: Technology Review

The world’s largest chip maker wants to see a new kind of economy bloom around personal data. 

Why It Matters: The economic importance of personal information has outstripped the legislation that governs it.

Data science and personal information are converging to shape the Internet’s most powerful and surprising consumer products.

Intel is a $53-billion-a-year company that enjoys a near monopoly on the computer chips that go into PCs. But when it comes to the data underlying big companies like Facebook and Google, it says it wants to “return power to the people.”

Intel Labs, the company’s R&D arm, is launching an initiative around what it calls the “data economy”—how consumers might capture more of the value of their personal information, like digital records of their their location or work history. To make this possible, Intel is funding hackathons to urge developers to explore novel uses of personal data. It has also paid for a rebellious-sounding website called We the Data, featuring raised fists and stories comparing Facebook to Exxon Mobil.

Intel’s effort to stir a debate around “your data” is just one example of how some companies—and society more broadly—are grappling with a basic economic asymmetry of the big data age: they’ve got the data, and we don’t. Read the rest of this entry »