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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Dec 2014

World

Dutch student sells his 'data soul' for £288 at auction
PTI
London, April 20, 2014
First Published: 19:36 IST(20/4/2014)
Last Updated: 19:38 IST(20/4/2014)
Twitter picture of Shawn Buckles, a Dutch student who auctioned off all his personal information.

A Dutch student has auctioned his 'data soul' - all his personal information, including medical records, emails and social media chats - for a total of £288.

Shawn Buckles, a student from the Netherlands, set up a website last month with an online bidding system in order and put all of his personal data up for sale.

This included his personal records, location records, medical records, train travel patterns, personal calendar, emails, social media chats, consumer preferences, browser history and "his thoughts".

Buckles decided to auction his 'data soul' to make a comment about privacy and the value of personal data.

At the time of setting up the website, Buckles had told Wired.co.uk that he would rather decide for himself who gets access to his data and for what reasons.

"People don't seem to understand that privacy and autonomy are very much related and that privacy is a necessity for developing one's individual character and ethics," he said.

Despite this, people are giving their data away for free by using services like Facebook and Google, and governments are misusing this data.

"We're silently consenting to a surveillance state by making all this data available for free," he added.

Buckles' data soul was recently sold to a company, The Next Web, for £288. According to Buckles, the company will use his data to illustrate the issue of privacy at a forthcoming conference.

The money will be donated to a Dutch digital rights organisation called Bits for Freedom, Wired.co.uk reported.

Buckles admitted that a number of his friends blamed him for jeopardising their privacy - by offering to sell email exchanges between him and them - with some even saying they wouldn't send him any more emails.


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