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App allows consumers to control the sale of their data to financial institutions

The consumers who opt-in would receive compensation

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Photo (c) metamorworks - Getty Images
Rather than have your transactional data used without your explicit knowledge, it’s now possible for consumers to sell it to financial institutions for cash.

Killi, a company providing consumer privacy services, has developed an app that integrates access to over 20,000 financial institutions so that consumers can opt-in to an agreement to share their data.

If they do, they receive compensation from the participating firms, unlike the normal arrangement, when consumers often are unaware that their data is being sold.

“The current market for transactional data is powered by firms that collect data from credit cards and bank cards, and sell it without explicitly informing or compensating the consumer," said Killi founder and CEO Neil Sweeney. 

Consumers may be told their data is being accessed and sold, but Sweeney says the disclosure is usually masked in the fine print. He says companies will sometimes bait consumers by offering points or other amenities in exchange for financial information. However, the payout only represents a fraction of the real value of the data.

Control and transparency

Sweeney says Killi is changing this system by providing consumers with control and transparency on who is purchasing their data while providing them with direct compensation each time the data is acquired. 

“Additionally, by putting explicit consent at the individual user level, Killi also removes privacy, fraud, and fidelity concerns for those that buy the data,” Sweeney said. “Killi gives full transparency to both buyers and sellers. When purchasing data from Killi, you know exactly where this data is coming from and vice versa.”

How much your data could be worth all depends on what kind of data it is. Industry sources say your Facebook data may be among the most valuable.

Congressional interest

A year ago, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) proposed legislation to provide more transparency in consumer data transactions by requiring data sellers to tell consumers exactly how much their information is worth.

Killi's Fair Trade Data program appears to come close to that goal. It allows for consumer inclusion in the sale of personal data and provides full transparency for buyers of data to see the exact source of what they are buying.

The program launched in April, and the company says it could play a significant role in the movement toward universal basic income for individuals by establishing a new model that regularly sends money back to the consumer. 

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