In the past, surrendering our personal information has been the hidden cost of entry into the digital world.
We’ve been conditioned to believe that this is the only way that relinquishing control over our digital identities is the price we pay for convenience and connectivity.
This misconception has been perpetuated and normalized over the years, leading many of us to resign ourselves to a seemingly inescapable reality.
Each time we surf the internet, make an online purchase or use an app, we leave behind pieces of our personal information.
This routine action has sparked worries about privacy and the misuse of our data by businesses, governments and other entities.
It might seem like people are willingly giving away their data but the reality is much more complicated.
In fact, most people don’t fully understand how these companies collect, store and use their data.
On top of that, the tools needed to protect our privacy are often hard to find or complicated to use, leading to a feeling of powerlessness and acceptance.
As we’ve become more immersed in the digital world, we’ve unknowingly surrendered control over our personal data, accepting this loss as the new normal.
As users, we have become accustomed to sharing our data with anyone who requests it.
We always keep our driver’s licenses and passports with us, but somehow, we give away ownership of our digital identities without much thought.
We willingly provide our email addresses, phone numbers and other personal information to access online services simply because we have grown accustomed to doing so.
Fortunately, as technology continues to evolve, we can finally build a better system in Web 3.0 and give back a choice to the users.
Yes, use my data
Would you give a stranger on the street your home address, the names of all your friends, your shopping preferences and a detailed account of your daily activities? Probably not.
Yet, this is what we do every day when we use digital services.
There is an undeniable utility to the way our data is used by corporations. Data powers the personalization and convenience of digital experiences we have grown to appreciate.
After all, they offer a plethora of services that many of us rely on daily, and these services are often free to use.
The question is not about the usefulness of data usage, but rather, about the transparency and control of this process.
The paradigm of ‘data for services’ doesn’t mean we should be resigned to an all-or-nothing choice. We shouldn’t have to choose between being entirely off the grid or having our entire lives monitored.
With the advent of Web 3.0 technologies, we are beginning to see the possibilities of this middle ground. Web 3.0 proposes a world where users retain control over their personal data.
We can decide who has access to our data, when and for what purposes. Instead of being passive subjects in this process, we become active participants.
We get to negotiate our terms of engagement and ensure our rights and preferences are respected.
This shift in power dynamics does not signify a loss for corporations.
On the contrary, a more transparent, consensual exchange of data can enhance user trust and promote stronger relationships between corporations and their user bases.
Companies that respect their users’ autonomy and privacy are likely to foster a more loyal and engaged customer base.
The progress of Web 3.0 is not a call for the end of data-driven services but rather a re-imagination of how we can create a more balanced, respectful and transparent data economy.
Web 3.0 is not a magic bullet that will solve all of the problems we face with data privacy overnight.
It does, however, provide a framework that acknowledges the importance of user control and consent.
In the Web 3.0 world, your data is your own. It’s not just a commodity to be mined and sold by corporations but an extension of your identity, your choices and your autonomy.
Adopting a Web 3.0 mindset could mean a future where we finally have the ability to negotiate the terms of our digital lives.
The conveniences and services that data enables wouldn’t be at odds with our privacy.
In this future, “Yes, use my data,” wouldn’t be a resigned acceptance of an inevitable compromise but a conscious, empowered decision.
Caria Wei is the co-founder of , a leading platform for scaling user engagement online and in real life, all while users maintain full ownership of their data. Previously as head of product and DevOps at Metis, she has experience in strategic and product management, program and enterprise release management and incident and change management.