– Banking on Granular Information Ownership 3
Banking on Granular Information Ownership
You have probably never heard of a technology company that claims to be dynamically solving both a technologicaland a political issue. Information ownership on the Internet is both a technological and a political issue. To alleviatethese critical issues, this paper proposes new technological choices for people to privately bank and granularly use their information like they privately bank and granularly use their money.Information ownership on the Internet is a technological issue because it requires new, sophisticated methods for empowering information producers with control that they themselves recognize as ownership. It is a political issue because, well, on the political scale, ownership rights rank right up there with life and liberty.
My company’s motto is that ‘data ownership matters’. It matters because increased
ownership placed in the hands of information producers, over and above
notiﬁcation requirements affording limited privacy protections, holds forth the promise of breaking up current and imminent political controversies centering oninformation ownership on the Internet.Technology companies are increasingly adept at tracking products, our consumption of products, and even our personalmovements.
The politics of doing so has in large part been left to them. It does not have to be so.
People Like Banks
People are comfortable and familiar with monetary banks. That’s a good thing because without people willinglydepositing their money into banks, there would be no banking system as we know it. Banks need access to people’smoney into order to make proﬁts. Without a healthy monetary banking system our economies would be comparativelydysfunctional, and our personal lives would be critically deﬁcient in opportunities.The monetary banking system exhibits several key characteristics:Security: A physically safe place to store money. Also, government regulations insure continuity of depositswhen banks go bankrupt.Credibility: Banks handle people’s money like they say they will in order to continue maintaining and attracting deposits.Compensation: An important dynamic operates here. Banks compensate customers by paying market rateinterest on deposited funds. In turn, the banks are compensated when they loan funds at higher marketinterest rates to third parties for ﬁnancing consumer and commercial purchases.Control: Customers deposit their money, withdraw it or transfer it when they choose.
1 The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution both guarantee that people shall not be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law.2 One need only look to the increasing usage of radio frequency identiﬁcation (RFID), and the coming application of sensorsemploying nanotechnologies. For more about RFID, see footnotes 18, 21 & 22, below, and accompanying text. See also,‘Nanotechnology’ at http://wikipedia.org.