Containing Big Data

In the US today we’re dealing with a completely unfettered free-for-all of data harvesting. Without meaningful privacy regulations like the EU’s GDPR, our private information is being collected, collated, packaged and sold by data brokers to all comers. Ad companies like Google and Facebook collect and hoard our data to sell targeted ads for high profits without commensurate benefits to the people placing the ads. How does it all work? What’s our data worth? And how can we protect it? I’ll discuss all of this and more with my guest, Tom Kemp.

Tom Kemp is a Silicon Valley-based entrepreneur, investor, and policy advisor. Tom is also the author of Containing Big Tech: How to Protect Our Civil Rights, Economy, and Democracy.

Interview Notes

Further Info

Table of Contents

Use these timestamps to jump to a particular section of the show.

  • 0:00:20: Follow me on Bluesky?
  • 0:01:32: Interview preview
  • 0:02:59: What are data brokers? Would we recognize their names?
  • 0:06:07: How big is the data broker industry?
  • 0:08:35: You say there are 5 different types of data brokers – what are they?
  • 0:12:10: Are there financial data brokers outside the US?
  • 0:15:53: Are we granting permission for data collection without realizing it?
  • 0:18:44: Who is making money off our data and what is it really worth?
  • 0:21:56: Who is selling our data out the back door?
  • 0:26:50: Why is location data so valuable?
  • 0:28:40: How much of my data is raw and how much is inferred or extrapolated?
  • 0:33:06: How often do data records contain errors?
  • 0:36:24: How much of our personal data is publicly available?
  • 0:38:46: Can we have an ad-based web economy and privacy, too?
  • 0:44:56: Our behavior ads really worth more than contextual ads?
  • 0:48:08: Can antitrust laws be leveraged against data collection?
  • 0:50:46: Can laws requiring transparency in data collection be a stepping stone?
  • 0:56:14: Why can’t we pass a federal privacy law?
  • 0:58:25: What can we do right now to limit data collection?
  • 1:01:50: What else does your book cover?
  • 1:05:28: Interview wrap-up
  • 1:06:01: Delete Act (SB362) Udpate
  • 1:06:58: A note on warranty registrations
  • 1:08:11: Global Privacy Control article
  • 1:08:28: Patron podcast teaser
  • 1:08:50: Look ahead