Antonio Garcia for Wired (Feb., 2019): NO, DATA IS NOT THE NEW OIL

“Data is the new oil” is one of those deceptively simple mantras for the modern world. Whether in The New York TimesThe Economist, or WIRED, the wildcatting nature of oil exploration, plus the extractive exploitation of a trapped asset, seems like an apt metaphor for the boom in monetized data. Ultimately, the majors like Google and Facebook will raise the castle walls around their data (and users) and disclaim any knowledge of data brokering, the “data-as-oil” traders. It’ll be first-party data all around: Publishers, apps, and ecommerce all huddling around their data and user piles, projecting that data externally in data-safe ways if absolutely necessary, but not otherwise. No, data isn’t the new oil. And it never will be, because the biggest data repositories don’t want it to be.

Ultimately, the majors like Google and Facebook will raise the castle walls around their data (and users) and disclaim any knowledge of data brokering, the “data-as-oil” traders. It’ll be first-party data all around: Publishers, apps, and ecommerce all huddling around their data and user piles, projecting that data externally in data-safe ways if absolutely necessary, but not otherwise.

No, data isn’t the new oil. And it never will be, because the biggest data repositories don’t want it to be.