Omri Ben-Shahar on Data's Place in the Economy

U.S. military reviewing its rules after fitness trackers exposed sensitive data

Many technology companies, including Google, Facebook, Twitter and Apple, routinely collect various types of location information, as do ride-hailing apps such as Uber and Lyft. In the absence of privacy laws guiding the use of such data, there is wide leeway for companies to use it for marketing or other purposes.

“We live in a world in which data is increasingly the engine of economic activity. We pay for a lot of things not with money but our data. And people are not catching up quickly enough to what’s going on,” said Omri Ben-Shahar, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School and co-author of “More Than You Wanted to Know: The Failure of Mandated Disclosure.”

Even when companies are careful about restricting access to data, sensitive location information, when paired with names and other identifying details, makes a valuable target for hackers, including those working for foreign intelligence services, experts said.

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