Data is most often compared to fuel. The parallel can be compelling: a copious raw product is refined into something that powers the services and products that we use every day. As in the case of oil, this new fuel has brought about a new way of doing business, and has greased the wheels of many processes that highly developed economies now consider essential.
It is also a place of platitudes, of half-baked industry waffle where the term data could just as easily be replaced with 'magic'. Like oil, most of us don't have to think about it – even fewer of us can claim to fathom the extent of the data flow that characterises the connected world.
This lack of understanding can lead to a lack of scrutiny from those with the greatest collective power to bring about accountability: users. The problem is that users receive any number of sophisticated services in return for no financial outlay and have, therefore, little idea of what this highly sensitive information can be worth. But should users be paid for it?