Big Data: A Terminal End

Recently, Facebook announced their revenue and performance expectations going forward.   It was less than impressive, which ended in $120 billion being wiped off their market value [1].  A large part of this was triggered by a consumer belief that they no longer trusted Facebook to protect their data [2].  It has long been accepted that only good can come from big data from a business aspect; the more you know about your customer, the better.

But increasingly, people are becoming worried about the trust of these companies protecting our personal information.  Furthermore, not every breach of security such as the Equifax data breach [3] is as well known.  Many companies try to hide their data breaches, only to be discovered later, such as Uber, who exposed over 20 million people’s data in 2016, but the details are just coming about this year [4].   What does this mean for consumers & who is responsible for protecting our well-being?  This is one of the many questions that were asked from those seeking to put more regulations on companies who access our information.  Collecting data for the sake of data seems harmless enough, until someone else decides what to do with it.

This got me thinking as well; Sure, these companies can be sued, fined, or prosecuted criminally, but at the end of the day, is it a big enough deterrent for other companies?  A type of cognitive dissonance seems to be imposed in all large corporations – a belief that they are impervious to data breaches due to their security, history, or something else. The victims of these breaches are the consumer.  Big data on us is our personal details, things that are sometimes not as easy to change, such as social security numbers, our parent’s maiden names, or our favorite foods.  What are the long-term effects of other people knowing this data?

It seems almost common these days to accept a Terms of Condition for most websites that allows monitoring of various aspects about you. But when is it enough & will there be a terminal end to big data.  For those reading, should there be an eventual end to big data?  Is there a limit on how much consumer data should be collected?  I don’t know the answer, but I have increasingly been more concerned with what information I share online & what companies have data on me, even more-so with companies that appear to have short life-spans, such as start-ups.




2 comments on “Big Data: A Terminal End”

  1. Interesting post and point of view.

    To answer your question in the end of your text: In my opinion the ethics of human interaction and business will eventually limit the amount of data that can be collected from consumers. By this I mean, that when the amount of data per customer becomes too large (goes over the limit of good ethics) it will not be allowed. People are already concerned of how much some corporations know about them, and the trend of increased big data does not decrease that concern.

  2. This is a huge concern which I don’t think has been addressed in any way on the regulatory side. The question for me is, “should record level data, collected in the course of commerce and unavoidable in our current marketplace, be able to be commoditized?” Many of the big tech companies source of revenue is based on the data that they collect. The data is not used for social good regardless of the companies often touting the ability of their data collection activities to improve social conditions. Privacy experts are not sufficient for this conversation. There is a broader discussion needed around the use of data as the basis of a company’s underlying business model.


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