curtwoodward writes "Better healthcare, more efficient government, cheaper goods and services — it's all possible in the age of 'big data.' According to the big companies hoping to make a killing off all that information, anyway. But will the people generating that valuable data — Joe and Jane Consumer — ever get a piece of the action? A few startups are trying to establish first-party marketplaces for personal data, compensating users directly for contributing high-quality information about themselves. The World Economic Forum is also involved, hoping that one day, 'a person's data would be equivalent to their money ... controlled, managed, exchanged and accounted for just like personal banking services operate today.' But some entrepreneurs think it might be too late in the developed world, where a consumer's data fingerprint is already very well documented."