How much is your personal data worth?

cyber attacks

How much do you think your data is worth? Photo: Reuters

Data is, supposedly, the currency of the internet age, with companies increasingly allowing people to pay for their digital services with information rather than money. But how much is your personal data actually worth?

According to a new survey of 5,000 consumers by digital storage company Western Digital, the average consumer values their personal data at £3,241.

Men tend to value their personal data more highly than women, with the average male consumer placing a value of £4,174 on his data, compared to £3,109 for women.

However, women are less willing to “sell” their personal data, with 31pc claiming their data is “priceless”, compared with 23pc of men.

Older people are also less likely to sell their data than younger ones – with 32pc of those 45 years and above describing their data as priceless, compared to 24pc of those aged 16 to 24.

Those between the ages of 25 and 34 consider themselves the “richest” demographic in terms of valuable personal data, with £4,174 cited as the average personal value in this age group.

The research also claims that many consumers in the UK still prefer to own content outright, rather than rent or stream it.

Thirty per cent of UK respondents claim to download a music album to their PC at least once a month, while 25pc download at least one film and 21pc download a TV show.

Meanwhile, just 2pc of those surveyed are using a paid cloud storage solution, and less than a fifth (16pc) are taking advantage of a free cloud storage service like Dropbox or Google Drive.

Hands typing on labtop keyboardCERT-UK could significantly improve the cyber-ecosystem for British SMEs  Photo: Alamy

According to a Financial Times report in 2013, general information about a person, such as their age, gender and location is worth a mere $ 0.0005 per person, or $ 0.50 per 1,000 people.

A person who is shopping for a car, a financial product or a holiday is more valuable to companies eager to pitch those goods. Car buyers, for instance, are worth about $ 0.0021 a pop, or $ 2.11 per 1,000 people.

The more intimate the information, the more valuable it is. Knowing that a woman is expecting a baby and is in her second trimester of pregnancy sends the price tag to $ 0.11, for example, while those with specific health conditions or taking certain prescriptions are worth $ 0.26.

However, even adding those details up, the sum total for most individuals often is less than a dollar.

Even cyber criminals are not willing to pay as much for stolen financial data as you might think. A recent report by Intel Security Group’s McAfee Labs revealed that the average estimated price for stolen credit and debit cards is $ 20 to $ 35 in the UK.

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