2 min read

This Tuesday, in his ‘State of the State’ speech, California Governor Gavin Newsom proposed a “digital dividend” according to a Bloomberg report. This proposal would allow California state consumers to share in the profits of multi-million dollar tech giants like Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s Google.

In his speech, as reported by Bloomberg, Newsom said: “California’s consumers should also be able to share in the wealth that is created from their data. And so I’ve asked my team to develop a proposal for a new data dividend for Californians, because we recognize that data has value and it belongs to you.

He mentions that California is proud to be the home to tech giants (Silicon Valley). But also points out that companies make billions of dollars from using personal user data. He did not mention exactly what the dividend could be. Newsom took over office only about a month ago. He said that he has asked his staff to come up with a plan but did not disclose any details. His idea is that internet advertising giants like Facebook and Google should pay its consumers money for using their personal data.

While this might seem like a great idea, big tech companies won’t really be ready to pay the consumers. They have repeatedly said through various hearings that they are able to provide the services for free because they use user data for advertising. And it is to be noted that this proposal is only for California residents, worldwide adoption is not even in the question.

Some comments on Reddit seem skeptical about this idea: “And then those companies start charging for their service offsetting any ‘dividends’. Nothing is free folks.”

We will give you a $10/mo credit if you let us share your data. Oh by the way, your bill is going up $15/mo. We need to offset the costs of issuing credits.

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