“Big data”, “data abuse”, “data analysis”, “data usage”… data, data, data! The media is full of articles around the buzzword and has been for a while. With good reason: Since our world has been shifting online, user data has become somewhat of a digital currency to companies and marketers. So besides giving up your data in exchange for a “free” app or special discounts, wouldn’t it also make sense to donate it for a good cause?
We have been seeing this concept pop up more and more, most recently by startup company Jawbone, which has launched a variety of apps and tools that help measure and monitor your sleeping habits, physical activity, and caffeine intake. The data they receive from their users contributes to a worldwide health study whose findings are revealed for public benefit (click here for more information).
Another initiative using data for a good cause has been launched by Cancer Commons, who ask cancer patients to share information about their health battles and physicians to share case reports in order to enhance the ability to offer specified help and treatment options.
But even if you are not a cancer patient and hesitant to submit information about yourself you can do good. Samsung Austria has launched their so-called “Power Sleep” app that “lets you donate the processor power of your smartphone or tablet to support researchers at the University of Vienna (…) to benefit cancer and Alzheimer’s research, amongst others.” Samsung assures that none of your personal data is being accessed when the app is in use. Vodafone customers also have the opportunity to donate their data (as in unused amount of their monthly download availability) to schools around the world that cannot afford full-on 24/7 access to the internet.
Even if all you have ever done online was as much as setting up an email account, it means that there has been data collected about you. While it is certainly a good idea to be cautious about who you give your information to, why not at least consider putting technology to good use and help others in the process?