A startup called Killi, based in Toronto, said it will pay people every month to share their info with the company’s clients.
“All of your data is already being collected and sold,” said Neil Sweeney, Killi’s founder and chief executive. “We’re trying to give you a seat at the table.”
Well, sort of. Even the few bucks a month Killi is offering might be seen as better than nothing.
But what the company is also doing is getting people to agree to let Killi’s clients do as they please with all that info — a blanket opt-in you may not have been aware of when signing up.
This is primarily a response to sweeping European privacy rules enacted in 2018 requiring companies to obtain permission from consumers before sharing their data with others. Some large U.S. multinationals are adapting their worldwide privacy policies to comply with the European rules.
Killi recognizes this as a business opportunity, facilitating opt-ins for data sharing.
Sweeney acknowledged that providing clients with data-sharing opt-ins is a major part of Killi’s business. “This concept of consent is a big service we provide companies,” he said.
““Don’t be under an illusion that your data still isn’t being sold. But we’re getting the consumer involved.”
He declined to name clients, saying only that they include Fortune 500 companies.
Killi has three tiers of data-sharing consent, each more revealing than the last. At a minimum, you will be asked to provide your date of birth, e-mail address, gender, location, phone number, postal code and country.
Beyond that, you can earn more money — ranging from a base rate of $1 to $3 a month — by viewing client companies’ online videos, sharing your browsing habits, taking surveys and sharing transaction data, such as where you shop and how much you spend.
The more data you share, and the more you participate in advertisers’ marketing efforts, the more you can potentially make.
“We get that a few dollars here and there may not seem like much today, but stick with it and you can grow it further over time,” Killi said.
Killi promises consumer data empowerment, but the price of that power is your privacy. Then there’s the matter of the blanket opt-in allowing Killi’s clients to share all data received for their own purposes.
I’m of two minds about the company. On the one hand, it’s encouraging that it rewards a consumer’s role in the data industry. On the other hand, I’m not sure Killi is the answer. A little cash is better than no cash. But agreeing to even more data sharing? I don’t think so.