Privacy In A Big Data Economy

Big data has significant benefits but presents challenges in creating a policy that protects privacy in the big data environment.

. <span>Photo by <a href=";utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_content=creditCopyText">Markus Winkler</a> on <a href=";utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_content=creditCopyText">Unsplash</a></span> # Big Data Big data is the vast quantity of information obtained through the internet. More specifically, big data is characterized by the volume, velocity, or variability of datasets such as human behavior online, business and government transactions, and the internet-of-things. Big data is fueling the rise in cloud platforms and the companies behind them, primarily Amazon and Google, as these companies were able to develop a highly scalable architecture to handle the computing power required for big data. Big data has been used to reveal patterns and trends to make better decisions. Technologies such as machine learning are used to improve customer recommendations and e-commerce, financial portfolio management, and even sports analytics. Government and other agencies are also leveraging the power of big data to develop economic forecasts, to protect its citizens, and even to lower traffic and crime. Devices are further enabling big data usage, as they collect and source the data, for example, our smartphones, wearables, other sensors, and so on. # Privacy & Its Conflicting Interests Privacy is understandably concerning within the big data environment. Privacy online has come to have the fundamental characteristic of providing access and control. Generally, privacy requires that a user can access their personal information and have control over that information. So ideally, users can set their limits and determine their comfort zone while using a platform or service. Big data incentives collecting as much information as possible, which in practice has resulted in a sort of "digital surveillance". Practices such as ad tracking are specifically designed for online advertisers to have the ability to track your browsing across various websites. Technologies such as these are not inherently negative, however, they must be balanced carefully to not invade users' privacy. Also, lacking privacy can leave many users vulnerable to harm such as identity theft or discrimination, and it's not always understood to what extent a user's activities generate data. Smart devices such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home are becoming increasingly popular within households due to their ability to do tasks by interacting with your voice. These devices not only collect data on these voice interactions, but they can connect to other smart devices that provide further data about a user. In several cases, Google Home has presented some privacy concerns leaving users vulnerable to “acts of violence” among other dangers. # Protecting Privacy & The Consent Dilemma Several Professors have argued that "privacy is important for individuals' personal development, autonomy, and relationships." In Western morality, privacy is considered important to human dignity and wellbeing and therefore should be protected. However, our current privacy policy is consistent with "privacy self-management" which is the idea that as long as users provide consent that is sufficient enough protection. However, implementing this method only can fail because it requires that users are informed enough to make decisions. This is problematic because several studies and surveys show that users find privacy very valuable but are quick to release it.* Alternatively, "paternalism" is the idea that all data is not allowed to be automatically collected just as long as there’s consent like in the case with self-management. Not all data is collected because there is a policy for information collection and distribution. This method solves some of the privacy problems, while on the other hand, it also restricts data and can leave users with no ability to use their data and consent. ##### Big data has significant benefits but presents challenges in creating a policy that protects privacy in the big data environment. --- [Protecting One's Own Data]( [Privacy Self Management/The Consent Dilemma](