California Gov. Gavin Newsom suggested Sunday evening that tech companies should pay California residents for money they make off selling their data.
“Your data is being monetized every single nanosecond. And, to the extent it’s been monetized and it’s yours, I think in some way shape or form you should be rewarded,” Newsom, a Democrat, said during an interview on HBO. He floated the idea in May during his first State of the State speech as governor.
It would conceivably serve two purposes: help fill California’s yawning wage gap and reward people for forking over their data to big tech.
The top 10% of families in the state make more than 10 times as much as those at the bottom 10%, according to a January Public Policy Institute of California report. Newsom’s idea also comes as consumers are more skeptical about giving up their personal data to tech companies in exchange for free services.
Newsom’s proposal comes after the state legislature passed a data privacy bill in 2018 granting consumers specific rights related to their personal digital information. It would allow consumers to request their personal information be deleted and requires tech companies and other businesses to disclose how and why it’s being used.
The governor’s office did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment about whether the governor’s idea is designed to tackle the state’s wage gap. Newsom’s data dividend idea also comes as both Democrats and Republicans are becoming more critical of big tech’s influence on society.
House Democrats, for instance, announced a plan on June 3 to review Facebook and Google to determine if the tech giants are stifling competition and harming consumers. It came two days after the Department of Justice floated a similar proposal.
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