On the Way to Unlocking the Value of Big Data

Real value of Big Data can’t be realized until global citizens can be reassured that their data won’t be misused.

Properly exploited, Big Data should be transformative, increasing efficiency, unlocking new avenues in life-saving research and creating as yet unimaginable opportunities for innovation, but the opportunity can’t be taken until concerns (as businesses gather more and more personal information about all of us) about privacy and security have been overcome.

There are risks, as well as opportunities, from Big Data. Personal data is only a small proportion of big data, with huge potential from non-personal datasets across various industries. People are completely in the dark as they don’t know how much their data is worth to companies and they can’t see the negative consequences of a lack of transparency. They are not understanding that companies are in business to make money and they have no sense that they own this personal information.

The constant battle between privacy and accuracy

Companies view their personalization systems as infinitely growing repositories; the bigger the repository, better the quality of insights. However they can easily cross the thin/Red line of data privacy. Hence companies that want to aggregate data from various sources must often comply with data privacy rules. Balancing data insights with data privacy issues becomes important.

Privacy is a relative term

There are country-specific laws governing the collection and usage of data, let alone protecting a global citizen’s right to privacy. Governments and regulatory agencies have drafted a wide range of data privacy rules, regulations, laws, directives and frameworks in an effort to address the concerns data use creates. These include the EU Data Protection Directive, the APEC Framework etc.

The anonymisation / data masking and re-use of data is a solution option that needs to be considered as big data becomes increasingly a part of our lives. Clarity is needed to give big data users the confidence they need to drive forward an increasingly big data economy, and individuals that their personal data will be respected.

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