Recent events have seen significant growth in user awareness when it comes to data privacy. In January, WhatsApp policy changes resulted in millions of users moving to competitor messaging platforms such as Telegram and Signal. When users started switching platforms in high numbers, WhatsApp announced that it will delay the changes by three months. These events have illustrated that more users are starting to act on their privacy concerns.
US-based TIKI offers the ability for users to see, control and get paid for their data. With the TIKI app, users link their third-party accounts to control how their data is used, including the option to sell their personal data.
After emerging from stealth mode at the end of October 2020, TIKI saw a significant influx of users, with thousands of user signups occurring only after a few weeks of marketing activity.
This is a key milestone for TIKI, as the company prides itself in its “user-centric” approach, where the product is driven primarily by user feedback. On their website, TIKI’s team states that they “build tools to empower users,” while valuing transparency and trust.
Founded in 2020 by Mike Audi in Boston, Massachusetts, TIKI addresses a growing need for data privacy control that benefits users. While the current approach of collecting and monetising data by big tech companies generates massive profit for themselves, users are not currently able to monetize the information they provide online.
Audi’s extensive background working with data in various companies, most recently as CTO of Blustream Corporation, provides first hand insight of the data trading market. His prior experience in data to companies motivated him to start TIKI, allowing people to join together, to create large sets of anonymised data that can be sold to businesses.
TIKI’s founder explains that, “People’s data is used against them. When a company has extensive control of a user’s data, they can and do use it however they want. When users decide to sell their data directly to businesses (which would normally pay the big tech companies for it), the market is much more balanced. We create healthy competition that is good for everyone.”
Recent developments show that the market for data might be just opening up. Apple’s recent privacy changes which may limit Facebook’s tracking activities and the Australian government’s attempts to limit the data access rights of some big tech firms suggest that, in the future, data’s value could grow immensely.
While there is action in the field, Audi thinks that “there is still a long way to go to address the balance.”
“We have to do something before it’s too late. That’s why we’re building TIKI. Individually, we’re powerless, playing whack-a-mole with our privacy, but together, we could take back control of our data.”
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