Picture this. It’s 2029, and a new super-jumbo internet company wants to analyze its users’ data. The CEO and Chief Data Officer task the analytics department with figuring out which users are the most likely to turn into customers. The analytics department is relatively shielded from the rest of the organization because having analysts with a “data clearance” is required by the company’s legal department. And the reason is that data about a user’s behavior was legally defined to be part of said user’s intellectual property.
Previously, I’ve written about a few different policy positions that we / CHT could consider researching and advocating for. One example would be advocating for legally requiring all digital products to have a paid, non-ad version; another is to force companies not to “game” when they surface notifications. (More details, with some thinking on enforcement mechanisms, can be found here. In fact, I think it would be great to go through the ledger of harms and see if there aren’t policy positions that would help address each item in it.
In terms of corporations exploiting my data, if how I use a website is part of my intellectual property, then the current problem is solved. Prior to now, when you read a book, the book wasn’t recording how you read it. But if you read an Ebook, it is a good bet that the company who makes the ebook reader is recording how much time you take to read each page. If in reading a physical book I take notes in the margins, underline a phrase, or draw a square around a paragraph, is this not part of my IP?
I’m not a lawyer nor legal scholar. But this seems like it’d be interesting to research further. What do you think? Is what I’m proposing feasible?