Data is different from other assets like gold and oil in that almost all of us, as individuals, generate it. Giving us more control over our own data will stimulate innovation, but realising the full potential will also involve collective action and anonymisation.
We should be empowered to control our own data. This is due to our part in its creation, our right to privacy for our personal information, the growing likelihood that this data will be processed in ways that affect us, but also the economic and social good that can be realised from it.
There are mechanisms to encourage this in the impending European General Directive on Data Protection (GDPR). This contains a right to data portability for individuals’ data. Although part of data protection legislation, this also has the objective of stimulating competition and innovation.