Who Owns My Data On The Internet?

First of all this data is an insane thing to keep track of. Data is nothing but true facts and metrics gathered in distinct pieces of information and combined together for reference and analysis. Dat can be in the form of numbers, stats, images, audio, video, documents, software programs, personal information and there is a lot to name.

One study tells us that an average American touches their phones almost 2500 times a day. And by the end of a year, it reaches to million touches and for power users maybe more.

Your mobile is not a tool to make calls, messages, and mail anymore. These are basic uses of mobile phones, but apart from this, there is a lot to it. The phone is basically a subtle monitoring device and we unknowingly feed them with information that are private every now and then. The stuff we browse in Google, the data we save, our chats, maybe mail or maybe everything we do generates data. 

Who knows maybe the Internet has got more organized information about us than we do and I know it sounds freaky.

Let’s have an insight into the Data dilemma

Data Flow and Regulations

Data is not like we think it is. And then if we think that we can own our data, then we are absolutely incorrect. Data is basically full of 0s and 1s. It’s like the air flowing everywhere. 

The amount of od data existing accross the globe is nothing but a giant colosseum. Many of our personal and no-personal day to day activities are gathered and stored by both Government and businesses. And the rise of data capturing through multimedia, internet of things and social media platforms is an serious aspect that needs to analyzed properly. And the main motto is to build a citizen-centric data ecosystem to protect our privacy.

The European Union have a data protective directive for 25 years now but still, studies have shown that the data right structure isn’t well-enforced. But the recent law on General Data Protection Regulation is quite serious and companies are taking it seriously because now it extends fines up to 4 % of global annual revenue and those who will not be complying with the guidelines and regulations will have to pay their fine.

Big Tech companies like Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and even Apple had to witness criticism and fines because they were incompetent to play according to the agreement. Few had to face the congressional hearing and end up paying huge fines ad few dogs.

Who owns your data?

At first, we should understand that data is not a physical object like a car or a mobile phone. You can be the owner of your intellectual data such as the photo you took, your painting, as the song you composed, a book you wrote, or a game you developed. According to the principle and copyright laws, anything we create on our own is our property because we have put effort and labor in our respective jobs.

The concept of ownership is very different in the digital world. The smartphone we use may not turn out to be sufficient to store massive data. In this case, you have to go for “Cloud” adoption and thereby create property rights for the entity that actually licenses the use of the platform to you.

But the real scenario is the entities in the value chain pretends full ownership of data while the real owner does not usually seem to have right on their data. The privacy policies of many organizations do not always follow the GDPR act. And they basically make us agree to their “terms and agreements” that states that they will acquire a legal right on our data and could use and share it with various companies for commercial and other purposes.

Advancement of Artificial Intelligence and Big data has made this ultra-valuable. But when the agreements come up, the terms and conditions are often kept opaque and confused. This is how giant tech companies acquire every right on your personal data and can use, keep and sell it.

Who owns data from the Internet of Things(IoT)?

The Internet of things has become quite critical and complex having implemented in different industries, but it raises the question of data ownership and who this data belongs to.

Several organizations are using this data for their own benefit and they prioritize on monetizing your data and sell it to third parties. These bring in the confusion of data ownership and licensing realms.

Most of the Internet of Things, data is machine-generated data( MGD) and MGD is the one who holds title to the Device that records the data. In layman words, the one who owns the IoT devices and generates data from that device is the owner of that data. 

But later on, data may be owned by one entity and controlled by another. The title doesn’t necessarily mean the possession of data. As I told you it’s a complex structure to understand.

Possession is control and the title means ownership

The title od data involves a couple of usage rights. These rights allow the titleholder to copy, transmit, distribute and create derivatives. Approaches differ for different organizations and industries who want to regulate the control of data transfer and titles.

How Big Companies Approach 

Privacy policies are basically backbone of getting an insight into data rights. 

A company like Netflix has come up with full glossaries for its tables of data in PDF.

Spotify, going with the policy trend, provided its data through an online download function.

Instagram also contributed to the issue and provided with full sets of data via plain-text JSON files. But it didn’t give permission for photos and videos.

Snacpchat addressed its privacy policy which states that it may procure information about us from third parties and affiliates or even share data with them and it shared a list of the expected third parties. 

Facebook and Microsoft are 2 giant tech companies that have many cases of disagreement with the GDPR policy and were penalized with huge fines. Though they dodged few fines and congressional hearings bu now they have realized that this is high time for sata security and privacy protection of users. They are trying to cope up with the GDPR and are changing it’s operational and security framework. Apart from the data protection agencies and government organizations, people are now very conscious of their personal data.


Strong policy framework are being made and strengthened for protecting the privacy and preventing data hacks and data exploitation for people. And this policy could also establish the ownership and rights of various individuals or groups. A citizen-centric data ecosystem is tremendously in need to empower individuals with visibility and control over data.

We have come to the end of the article about Who Owns My Data On The Internet and I hope you have liked the information.