Governor Gavin Newsom probably had a lot of Silicon Valley executives squirming when he suggested in his State of the State speech that, “California’s consumers should also be able to share in the wealth that is created from their data.” He is seeking a proposal on creating a data dividend for Californians.

The investigation is worth pursuing and may be a way to create new income for people without resorting to a government program such as universal basic income.

Of course, developing the value of personal data will be a difficult task. Tech companies will warn that services that people enjoy freely today may find themselves behind paywalls if the data income spigot is cut off.

California is home to some of the biggest data collection companies in the world with Google and Facebook headquartered here. With data collection, companies such as Facebook and You Tube can help advertisers target audiences. While advertisers have used free content providers to reach audiences for a long time–think television–the specific targeting abilities provided by data collection from individual members of the audience ups the advertising game considerably.

Data collection needs will only intensify with further developments of Artificial Intelligence such as voice and image recognition.

Newsom said in his speech to the consumers, the “data has value and it belongs to you.”

The governor is not the first to consider putting a price on personal data. German Chancellor Angela Merkel also sought solutions to solving the data value question.

In a rudimentary way, political pros have paid for data for years with focus groups.

The question is can data collection be done in a way to satisfy consumers without damaging business. Supporters of paying for data argue that business opportunities would be enhanced under such a program because competing businesses would enter the field to offer rewards for data.

Selling personal data could be a partial market solution for those who might be considered for guaranteed income although it is likely the high-end earners are the ones data collectors would be more interested in.

A data dividend will likely prove to be a popular idea with the public if it can be made to work. It is worth considering. It will be interesting to see what Newsom’s team comes up with in developing a plan for a data dividend.