vendredi 20 mars 2015

**When ownership gets transferred**

*Smooth case
I recently moved offices, and did not want to move my desktop displays: I had been offered new displays in the new location. I just had to administratively transfer the ownership of the displays I was leaving to another department at that location. Done, moved on.

*What silver coins teach us
My grandmother gave me once a silver coin valued 5 French Francs. I thought she had given me 5 FR I could spend. She got into the habit of giving me more such coins, now and then, a few times per year.
I kept the coins in a drawer, thinking they were accumulated as pocket money does, and I could spend them when the occasion would occur. I remember that in those years you could get very nice vinyl records for 15 FR in a Montparnasse shop (central Paris).
Now we got to speak about it with my grandmother, and it became apparent that it was not the view nor intention of my grandmother that I would spend this pocket money. The coins were given to me for… KEEPING. She saw these as collection items. Silver coins with currency value were ambivalent: they could be seen as 5 FR, or as a weight of silver valued as such. It was not meant as a coin like any other,  but as a personally TRANSFERRED FROZEN ASSET from my grandmother as the GIVER to me as the KEEPER, not exactly the happy recipient.
Much later, I read about the Bretton-Woods agreement, and the following history of suspending the convertibility of currencies to gold, starting with the dollar in 1971. The veil of the money and the veil of metal convertibility of money, are wise explanations from economists for real microeconomic situations.
A main thing I would take for big data from this observed case, is that when transferring source data, from one producer or other seller to a buyer or user, the data as IT record of file is transferred, but it is also transferred with economic and contractual/legal expectations and rules of use. This also happens if the data is open or free.

*From music
Recorded music has shown us different patterns of transfer:
-open market, with competing publishers, and users able to shop around as I did in Montparnasse
-direct peer to peer online, possibly illegal
-closed market places as iTune, working as an integrated value chain.

*From organ donation
Organ donation brings us closer to personal data and parameters (such as biological measurements):
-one donates a part of their body
-one expects with right that this body part be used very carefully, with a genuine best effort to save someone’s life.
To avoid the grandmother’s syndrome above, organ donations are anonymised, except in obvious cases such as direct and immediate donation to a family member.
Well, closer even to real-time big data, flowing, blood donations are also very carefully managed, end to end.

*And now, for big data?
The question this leads us to is: what happens to data once it is transferred from one economic agent to the next? What “ownership” with rights and responsibilities gets transferred? What is then a fair transfer price?

By the way, as long as the source data does not result (at the processing stage considered) into an end-user service being sold, it is free of VAT J.

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