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Square Co-Founder Launches Platform To Return Personal Data To Consumers

Square Co-Founder Launches Platform To Return Personal Data To Consumers

New startup Invisibly, from the co-founder of payment company Square, introduces a novel way for users to regain control of their personal data while also profiting from it.

Businesses create fortunes by leveraging the astronomical amounts of data they collect from consumers, often without the knowledge or consent of those consumers. Invisibly is changing this unequal, and at times predatory, dynamic with its new data control platform that lets people license and monetize their personal data, while also serving as an ad network for publishers. Invisibly hopes to reshape data collection to a 100% consumer-consented model that people can fully approve of, while also providing a needed passive income stream for many people by enabling the voluntary sharing of their data that can be licensed for use in advertising purposes. Invisibly users have a direct choice in what data they want to share, and with whom, and by opting in or out to various access points across the Invisibly platform, they earn personal data dividends depending on what data is shared for advertisers to use. 

The advertising industry and large technology companies have rarely let people know exactly what data they have on them, what data about them is being shared, and how that data is being utilized by its recipients. The Invisibly platform introduces a new level of transparency around these interactions, while placing both control and compensation back in the hands of the consumer. Giving consumers control of what data is collected about them, as well as educating them around its use, can forge a whole new level of trust and relevant offers that create revenue streams for consumers and brands.

Users are easily able to see what data Invisibly has gathered about them by viewing their “data vault.” Within the vault, users have the ability to erase or correct their data, and by participating in the platform’s unique passive earning model, users earn points for the different ways they choose to link or share their data, and those points are then able to be exchanged for money, making the trade-offs of the traditional data-driven business model more explicit and transparent from the consumer perspective.

The fundamental approach behind Invisibly’s redistribution of data rights and access is part of a larger trend PSFK researchers have observed around data usage and privacy controls involving the growing recognition by consumers that their data has value. This realization is inspiring the creation of personal data markets and new, user-centric infrastructure that allows people to both control and financially benefit from the use of their private information.


This article originally appeared in PSFK’s research paper, Cultivating Trust Within The Digital Economy.