Can Big Data Save Lives?

26. June 2012

Date: 26-06-2012
Source: Businessworld: Nayan Chanda

Companies lure customers online and collect loads of data – storing information about purchases, habits, likes, beliefs, travels and more to plan and target future advertising, sell to other firms or project trends. “Big Data is proving an amazingly valuable tool to manage a complex consumerist planet, but it is also creating a sinister world of Orwellian ‘big brothers,’” argues Nayan Chanda, YaleGlobal editor in his column for Businessworld. Companies like Twitter, by highlighting trending topics, make no secret of the massive data trolling. Of course, online data banks contribute to quick awareness of trends, for example, allowing the Securities and Exchange Board of India to prevent fraud; police departments to target crime patterns; and Google to beat governments in identifying flu outbreaks by two weeks. Millions around globe unwittingly release sensitive data online every day. Governments must catch up in reviewing and possibly regulating the many implications; individuals should consider every online click and post, and proceed with caution. – YaleGlobal

There’s a reason why governments and companies hold personalized data; unless checks are instituted, Big Data to Big Brother may be short step away Read the rest of this entry »