Governor urges 'data dividend' to share tech wealth

February 13, 2019
Governor Gavin Newsom of California said his "data dividend" plan would allow state residents to share in the wealth derived from tech firms monetizing personal information from online users

The new governor of the state that is home to Silicon Valley said Tuesday his team is working on a plan for a "data dividend" that internet firms would pay users.

Governor Gavin Newsom announced the proposal during a "State of the State" address, reasoning that people should share in money that make off of what they know about users.

"Consumers have a right to know and control how their data is being used," Newsom said, referring to state privacy legislation passed last year.

"But California's consumers should also be able to share in the wealth that is created from their data."

Silicon Valley-based Google and Facebook dominate the multi-billion dollar global online digital advertising market, using what they learn about users to target advertisements that might be of interest.

The practice has fueled debate about whether people have, in a way, been turned into products by internet companies whose paying customers are advertisers.

Concerns have also risen regarding whether the privacy of users is being sufficiently protected.

"California is proud to be home to determined to change the world," Newsom said.

The move comes with technology giants under pressure from regulators around the world to disclose more about their and give users better control over personal information.

"But companies that make billions of dollars collecting, curating and monetizing our personal data have a duty to protect it."

Newsom shared little detail about his proposal, saying he had asked members of his team to work on it because "we recognize that your data has value and it belongs to you."

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