The Price of My Information

Via Facebook, I found a story in the online New York Times Magazine on the data mining Target does with the information it collects when we buy its products using a credit card, coupon, or anything else that identifies us as the purchaser.   Their data analysis is so good that they can determine, with a high level of confidence, whether a shopper is pregnant and when she is due.  According to the story, they were even determined that a teenage girl was pregnant before her father did!

Similarly, Google’s new privacy statement has raised concerns about how much information we, sometimes unconsciously, give to them.

I don’t think these companies are doing anything illegal or even necessarily unethical.  We and they are participating in a business transaction; in effect, we sell all of this information about ourselves for the price of credit card rewards, coupons, e-mail, internet searching, online documents, other services and benefits, and even this blog.  If I want, I can simply stop participating in many of these transactions, as an article in Forbes suggests, by paying mostly (on only) in cash.

I am beginning to realize that I have not been sufficiently conscious of this transaction even though I have thoroughly participated in it.  I have not stopped to ask the question, “How much is my information worth?” Certainly I have implicitly decided its price, but is that the right price?  Does that price reflect its true value?  I am asking these questions now, and I am not sure what the answers will be.

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2 Responses to The Price of My Information

  1. Teri says:

    Good questions. We do live in the information age. It really brings to light God's concern at Bable before He confused the languages. It also afirms the possibility of omnisciences. The reality that an omniscient God loves & cares for me is a great comfort in this information age. When you're finished grappling with your questions I'd like to know the answers…I need to grapple a little too.

  2. Kevin says:

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