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Questions and Answers

What you have never dared to ask up to now

  • Why is it important to bring the data capital back to Europe?

    There are a number of reasons for this, but we only have room to mention a few. In principle, it can be said that data capital generates real capital. When investing in companies or trading stocks, both the ownership of data and the company’s ability to handle data are evaluated. If data capital flows back into Europe, then more real capital will be invested in European companies, the market value will increase, and it will also increase turnover and profits. This creates and safeguards jobs, while also increasing tax revenues. Pension funds and life insurers can also generate better interest rates, as some of them refinance on the stock market. If they can do this within the Eurozone, they no longer have to worry about an exchange rate risk. This is a simplified idea, but in essence what’s clear is that there is more fuel in the tank of the European Economic Area.

  • How much data capital do tech companies like Facebook or Twitter have?

    At the moment, we can only estimate the true value of the data collected by these companies. The price of data depends on how much someone is willing to pay for it, or for the products which are based on it. This in turn depends on the expectations of the buyer, the calculated benefit, and so on.

    The best way to estimate the potential data capital of the different tech companies is to use their market value.

    Let’s look at a hypothetical social network from the US that’s worth roughly $250Bn. Some of the stock exchange specialists say that at least 25% of the stock market value of these types of companies is based on the possession of user data. That would be $62.5Bn. If we then assume that there are 400 million Europeans and 300 million Americans on this network, $46.875Bn of the company’s value would be based on European user data. That’s only one hypothetical social network.

  • Why do data silos cause massive difficulties?

    The mass storage of data in one place is always a problem when it comes to personal data. This data reveals a lot about a person - their demographic characteristics, interests, opinions, purchase intentions and more.

    The collection, use, and trading of this data is a huge business. For this reason, data silos of personal data are popular targets. A single credit card number isn’t worth much, but you could get a hefty price for a million credit card numbers.

    The hoarding of personal data in silos is increasingly becoming a problem for the rest of the economy, as many production and sales models today are based on this data. The few who possess this data can dictate its price, and easily enter the markets of other companies. This puts competition at risk, causes job cuts, and isn’t in the consumer’s interest.

  • What does a European cooperative do?

    Co-operatives are associations of people who form a joint economic business. In this way, more can be achieved together then would be possible for everyone to do on their own. For example, the purchase of a rental house, or common agricultural machinery.

    The co-operative is a corporation, such as a GmbH or AG. In the co-operative however, everyone only has one democratic vote, while in a GmbH or AG, the one with the most shares has the most votes. Hostile takeovers are excluded in a co-operative, because no one person can buy themselves control. Although the largest shareholder gets the largest share of cake at the end of the year, they cannot impose their will on others.

    The European Co-operative (Societas Cooperativa Europaea (SCE) in Latin) is a type of legal form that was established in 2006, and is significantly more modern than German co-operative in terms of the law.

  • Why are millions of data records always stolen at once?

    Imagine that a database system is a skyscraper, and your data set is a flat within this skyscraper. Down at the front door, there’s lots of security technology, but there are no locks on the flats. Once someone is past the doorman, or if they enter through a back door that’s been left unattended, they can take everything with them.

    Why is this the way it is?

    There are a number of reasons for this, but the most common culprit is constant change. The skyscraper is constantly being rebuilt, and sometimes a door is left unlocked. In addition, centralised systems are easier to program, and simpler programming means that the database is completed faster.

  • How can personalized data influence votes in elections?

    There are approximately seven attributes, such as gender and area of residence, that can lead to an accurate prediction of which political views someone has, and if the voter is still undecided, which party they’ll vote for. Then, the individual is shown articles that seem to have nothing to do with the election. If the reader shows interest by clicking on the link, further conclusions can be drawn. This is how one can determine a group of impressionable voters, and focus election campaigning precisely on this group. In most cases, this electoral campaigning can no longer be recognised as such. Rumours are spread by perceived experts, facts are distorted, and all sorts of other nasty tricks are used. Those candidates who don’t have access to this data can’t purposefully target this group of ‘floating voters,’ and their campaigning is therefore not as efficient.

    We like to believe that we’re immune to these practices, but if we were, there’d be no such thing as advertising.

  • What is the value of my data?

    The value of data is extremely personal. There’s no single number, because it always depends on who wants to buy the data, what they can do with it, what data it is, and who you are. Mrs. Merkel’s mobile number would be certainly more expensive that that of a regular citizen. One can’t compare this value with the value of a real object either, because if this object is sold, money appears but the object is gone. Data is rather comparable with the rights of music - you can sell the data several times without it losing value.

    The turnover generated by data trading and analysis amounts to tens of billions of euros per year in Germany alone, and is on an upward trend. The amount that goes to the individual consumer is easy to calculate - €0. The ‘free’ use of a service doesn’t balance out against the value of the data, otherwise the profits of these big tech companies wouldn’t be so immense.