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Abstract

This article explores the status of data subjects in the era of data capitalism. Data-driven companies rely on data subjects offering personal information to train the algorithms they use to provide their services. We maintain that it is time to seriously investigate whether data subjects should be considered as investors. First, we preview our thesis and provide a functional definition of an investor. Then, we develop our argument that data subjects are better understood as investors rather than consumers or labor providers. Finally, we examine the balance sheet impact of a data contribution to the firm and the existing legal regime requiring subjects to retain an ownership interest in their data even after it has been transferred to the firm.

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