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New research puts price on personal data tracked by smartphones

Thursday, July 10th 2014 by Luke Thompson
New research puts price on personal data tracked by smartphones

A new study has sought to put a price on the various types of personal data smartphones are able to collect.

Researchers in Italy have released the results of a study into the prices advertisers are willing to pay for the various types of personal data that mobile devices track.

Assisted by colleagues who included a researcher from Google, Jacopo Staiano of the University of Trento recruited 60 members of the public and provided them with smartphones that monitored a range of stats such as location, calls made and apps used, Technology Review reports.

The researchers held one auction per week over 60 days in which they solicited bids for the data they had collected. Advertisers shelled out a total of 262 EUR (£208) for this information – an average of 2 EUR per item of data.

According to the results, location is perceived as more valuable than any other type of information, followed by processed data, which advertisers believe gives a greater insight into lifestyle.

The researchers also observed a peak in bid values over two particular days – the Immaculate Conception holiday and a period of high winds that caused traffic disruptions.

"The median bids for all categories in these two days were significantly higher than for the rest of the days in the study," Mr Staiano commented.

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