What is the Data Dividend Project?

The Data Dividend Project (DDP) is a movement dedicated to taking back control of our personal data: our data is our property, and if we choose to share it with companies, we should get our fair share.

The DDP is the brainchild of former presidential candidate Andrew Yang. Its primary objective is to establish and enforce data property rights under laws such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which went into effect on January 1, 2020.

What are companies doing with my data?

Every day, people are generating data simply by going about the business of living in an ever connected and digital world. Unbeknownst to most people, technology companies are tracking their every move online, extracting this data, and then buying and selling it for big money. The sale and resale of consumer data is called data brokering, which is itself a $200 billion industry.

For example, technology companies can extract location data from your mobile phone and sell it to advertisers who can then turn around and post local ads to you in real time. Until recently, the data collector – in this case, the technology company - was deemed to own the data. As the owner, the technology company could sell that data and profit handsomely. Meanwhile, you generated the data but received no share of those profits. DDP plans to change that.

Why hasn’t anyone done this before?

Until this year, you, as the American consumer, had little recourse against technology companies who were profiting off your data without your consent or knowledge. Now, under the CCPA, Californians are endowed with a collection of unalienable data rights: the right to know what information is being collected about you, the right to delete that information, and the right to opt-out from technology companies collecting your data. These rights, however, are ignored and abused by technology companies. And unfortunately, individual consumers don’t have the leverage to be able to go up against these companies. That’s where DDP comes in.

What does DDP actually do for me?

DDP is building a movement of Americans who are fed up with technology companies taking advantage of them and who have collectively decided to take a stand.

By signing up with DDP, you give us the ability to collectively bargain and advocate for your data rights and your right to be compensated for the use of YOUR data, which is YOUR property. With a critical mass of Americans all demanding their fair share, technology companies will no longer be able to get away with hoarding the gains made off your data.

Individually, we’re powerless to stand up to big technology companies. Together, however, we can regain what is rightfully ours. Join the movement.

Ok, I have signed up, now what?

We’re on it! You’ve officially designated DDP as your “authorized agent,” which means we’re now able to represent you in bargaining with the tech companies. We’ll enter negotiations with tech companies on your behalf to exercise your data rights and hopefully get you paid.

You should expect to hear from us sometime in September. We’ll reach out with a progress update and fill you in on what happens next. In the meantime, check out our blog to learn more about the concept of data-as-property and similar data rights legislation that may be in the works in your state.

FAQ

Who is Andrew Yang?

Andrew Yang centered his 2020 presidential campaign around the vision of building a human-centered economy and implementing a “Freedom Dividend” of $1000 a month for all Americans. Andrew’s clear diagnosis of the problems that face our country and vision for solutions inspired a nationwide movement that focused on rewriting the rules of our economy and society to work for us, the people.

A key component to Andrew’s platform was the establishment of a “Data Bill of Rights”. Andrew argued that consumer data is the new oil, and took the position that consumers should have ownership over their personal data and should be compensated for its use.

I am interested but don't live in California. How can I participate or help?

You should definitely still join DDP! For example, we just informed Illinois residents about the $650 million Facebook biometric privacy class action settlement, which could result in up to $400 per qualified Illinois resident.

The CCPA only applies to California residents; however, many tech companies have incorporated the CCPA into their terms and conditions and privacy policies for all Americans.

The DDP is working to enforce data-as-a-property rights for California residents in our first stage. However, Maine and Nevada have already passed similar bills and 10 other states have similar bills-in-committee that are being considered. Andrew and the DDP will work hard to see that similar laws are passed in other states, and potentially on the federal level.

For those outside of California, once your state passes legislation that grants you your rights, we will notify you (provided you’ve signed-up with DDP).

What is the California Consumer Privacy Act?

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is a state law that provides comprehensive data ownership and privacy rights. In general, it protects the personal information of California residents by bestowing certain consumer rights and by regulating businesses in regards to the collection, sharing, and selling of consumer information; it also restricts the sale of personal information of minors.

The CCPA became effective on January 1, 2020 and began enforcement on July 1, 2020.

What are my rights under the CCPA?

First, the consumer has the right to know i.e. he/she can request that the company confirm whether it has his/her personal information, the type of information, and the categories of sources from which that information was collected, among other things. The consumer can exercise his/her right to know by asking for a copy of the information and in doing so, triggers his/her right of data portability meaning that the company must deliver the information by mail or electronically, and if the latter, must convey the information in a format that allows the consumer to transmit it to another entity.

Second, the consumer has the right to delete. This right refers to the consumer’s ability to request that the company delete his/her personal information except in certain circumstances such as where the retention of information is necessary to complete a transaction/contract with the consumer or where retention is necessary to protect against fraudulent or illegal activity.

Third, the consumer has the right to opt-out which refers to the right to opt out from the business selling his/her personal information to third parties.

Fourth, the consumer has the right of non-discrimination, which means the consumer cannot be treated differently for exercising his/her privacy rights.

Finally, a consumer can designate an “authorized agent” to exercise his/her rights under the CCPA. DDP wants to be your “authorized agent.” This final element of an authorized data agent is exactly how DDP seeks to help fight for your data rights.

Do I have to sign up with DDP to exercise my rights under the CCPA?

No. You can exercise your rights under the CCPA in one of three ways: 1) through DDP at your authorized agent, 2) individually, or 3) through a lawyer or another “authorized agent”.

If you exercise your rights through DDP, you will have Andrew Yang and a team of world-class lawyers advocating on your behalf. Once you designate DDP as your “authorized agent”, there will be little you need to do.

You can also exercise your rights individually. Since the CCPA came into effect on January 1, 2020, most technology companies have changed their privacy policies to describe how to exercise your CCPA rights. However, it will take time and effort to wade through the details of each and every technology company’s privacy policies (see, for example, donotsell.org).

Finally, you can always search for a lawyer or another authorized agent to help you exercise your CCPA rights.

What is DDP asking for exactly?

We are asking you to sign a written authorization giving DDP the authority to act as your authorized agent to exercise your legal rights under the CCPA. Please note that this written authorization enables DDP to act legally on your behalf in a limited area--only as it concerns your data rights.

Can I revoke my authorization after it has been submitted to the DDP?

Yes. You can revoke your authorization at any time by clicking here. However, the more authorizations DDP has, the more bargaining leverage we will have with the technology companies. That’s why we ask you to commit to leaving your authorization with DDP until at least August, 2021.

Do I have to pay anything?

You do not have to pay anything upfront. We are committed to fighting for your rights but we require a minimum budget to keep the fight going. We are currently assessing a few options, including retaining a percentage of the final dollar amount that we recover, but only to help cover DDP's costs.

Will there be lawsuits?

It depends on how the technology companies react. No lawsuit will be filed without first obtaining your consent. We are committed to pursuing a diplomatic approach before advancing to litigation. You can read more about our principles and approach here.

Is this USA only?

Yes, unfortunately for now.

Can I only get paid if I have PayPal?

At this time, yes. We chose PayPal to start with because it was easy to implement and uses your email address, which allows us to collect less information from you. We intend to roll out other payment options in the future if they are cost-effective and easy to implement.