All this attention to Big Data proves one thing: Personal information can be profitable. A lot of companies can track how people surf and spend, but the big money lies in matching it with data that people volunteer about their backgrounds and preferences. That’s why computer scientist Jaron Lanier has argued that consumers should be compensated for the data they wittingly or unwittingly provide, perhaps though a universal micropayment system.
While that’s not happening soon, consumers are becoming a little stingier with what they’re willing to give up—and whom they’re willing to give it to. Privacy laws make it easier to say no. The question is what motivates them to say yes.
In June, a study from Infosys (INFO:IN) found most Americans would happily trade their privacy for better services. Now comes a new study from Boston Consulting Group that challenges long-held notions about who’s willing to give up data and why.