Question: Would you willingly give up a little privacy in exchange for access to a cool new app or digital service? You might not if you knew the true cost of what you’re sacrificing, says law professor Joshua Fairfield of Washington and Lee University. Fairfield is the author of "Owned: Property, Privacy and the New Digital Serfdom."
In his book, Fairfield examines property rights and privacy in the new digital age. As you might imagine, he’s not exactly down with what tech companies are foisting upon unsuspecting consumers.
“We have no idea how valuable we are, data-wise,” says Fairfield. As a result, “we don’t price our value accordingly.”
Privacy and property rights aren’t something we should squander so willingly, he adds. “We accept web cookies but would never accept someone peering into our windows,” he adds. Yet they are one in the same when viewed through the lens of property ownership.
In this episode, Fairfield blows holes in some commonly held misperceptions. Take the idea that members of the Millennial generation aren’t as interested in property ownership as previous generations. That’s nonsense, he says. The current generation simply hasn’t had the same means to acquire land, autos and more. Apartment renting, Uber and Airbnb aren't so much ways of life as they are statements about the economic times we live in, in other words. Unfortunately, millennials are struggling to amass wealth at the same rate of baby boomers and Gen Xers, he says.
Some of the ideas Fairfield examines in his book are topics that I addressed along with Nutanix EVP Inder Sidhu in “The Digital Revolution,” which was published in The Financial Times Press. Where Fairfield excels is teasing out the finer points of law and common sense, which run right through the digital revolution. After listening to him, you’ll never register for a free online service with the same childlike, damn-the-torpedoes attitude again, I'm guessing.
In addition to Fairfield, we connect with Leo Castro of BigCommerce in this edition of the Channel Futures Podcast. Castro is the vice president of product and partner marketing with BigCommerce, and a member of the Channel Futures Think Tank.
In this segment, Castro discusses peer-to-peer partnering, which is raising the influence of thousands of digital-service providers big and small. Our partner, Theresa Caragol, co-founder and CEO of Achieve Unite, leads Castro through the conversation, which spans everything from digital agencies to best practices.