Privacy fears fuel a fintech pioneer

A rebellion is stirring against our digital overlords, as seed and venture capital investors place bets on new business models that feed on privacy concerns in the post-Snowden era.

Perversely, large-scale data breaches only benefit fintech companies like the Stone & Chalk resident Meeco, which aims to disrupt the likes of Google and Facebook by enabling consumers to regain control of their personal data and turn it into a valuable asset.

Until about five years ago, Meeco founder and chief executive Katryna Dow’s privacy mission was falling on deaf ears — she was out of step with a seemingly manic desire by people to share everything online.

In 2013, a pivotal moment occurred with Edward Snowden’s leak of extensive internet and phone surveillance by US intelligence services.

The digital behemoths benefit from the so-called “surveillance economy” in four main ways.

They collect information about your identity, track your online behaviour, segment your preferences and tailor offers to suit your individual needs.

The Meeco model does likewise, but flips it all around so users take control and decide if they want to share their data.

Instead of shopping for deals and leaving a digital footprint for advertisers to bombard you with offers, the company is in the process of building marketplaces by forming partnership arrangements with various merchants around the world.

Users can then choose the brands they want to transact with, while remaining anonymous.

Meeco is not an advertising platform — the merchant partners can’t approach users without their explicit permission.

The underlying philosophy is that everyone in the transaction should benefit.

Meeco clips the ticket on any purchase, users control their data and can exchange it for value, and the merchant avoids the current race to the bottom on price.

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Source: Privacy fears fuel a fintech pioneer – The Australian