Are Data Subjects Investors?

22 Pages Posted: 1 Apr 2020 Last revised: 2 Apr 2020

See all articles by Tae Wan Kim

Tae Wan Kim

Carnegie Mellon University - David A. Tepper School of Business

Jooho Lee

Pepperdine University

Joseph Xu

Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University

Bryan Routledge

Carnegie Mellon University - David A. Tepper School of Business

Date Written: March 14, 2020

Abstract

This article explores the status of data subjects in the era of data capitalism. A data subject is a person whose personal data is being collected, held, or processed by data collectors or processors (e.g., Amazon, Google, or Facebook). Data-driven companies rely on data subjects offering personal information for training algorithms for services. We maintain that it is time to seriously investigate whether data subjects can be considered as investors. First, we preview our thesis, followed by a functional definition of an investor. Then, we develop our argument that data subjects are better understood as investors rather than consumers or labor providers by examining the balance sheet impact of a data contribution to the data firm and the existing legal regime requiring data subjects to retain an ownership interest in their data even after it has been transferred to the data firm.

Keywords: Data ownership, data subject, GDPR, CCPA

Suggested Citation

Kim, Tae Wan and Lee, Jooho and Xu, Joseph and Routledge, Bryan R., Are Data Subjects Investors? (March 14, 2020). Berkeley Business Law Journal, Forthcoming. , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3554457

Tae Wan Kim (Contact Author)

Carnegie Mellon University - David A. Tepper School of Business ( email )

5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States

Jooho Lee

Pepperdine University ( email )

Malibu, CA 90263
United States

Joseph Xu

Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States

Bryan R. Routledge

Carnegie Mellon University - David A. Tepper School of Business ( email )

5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States
(412) 268-7588 (Phone)
(412) 268-7064 (Fax)

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