Privacy and Big Data

Big data, while providing an amazing resource for businesses to optimize their sales and advertising, can also run the risk of invading a person’s privacy if not properly utilized. As FCW’s article “Big data affects hiring, privacy” points out, there is currently very little by way of regulation for the new and developing science of some Big Data collection processes.  To that end, it appears than many are uncomfortable with potential misuses of such information analysis.

As with most new business programs and techniques (in fact, as with most anything that sits on the cutting edge), there is currently very little legislation designed to regulate it and ensure the privacy of all participants. Some find this lack of legislation to be potentially problematic; theoretically, it implies that large, information-collecting companies are free to choose to sell participants’ personal information however and to whomever they please. Legislation regarding the use of such information does seem to be on its way, however.

The article does make an interesting offhanded remark that people of older generations are more bothered by the idea of this perceived invasion of privacy than those of the younger generations. This statement begs more explanation and possibly an article of its own; the effects that generational culture shifts have on the public’s perception of privacy issues are certainly ones that will continue to be the subject of future analysis and examination. Because of this emerging cultural difference, companies may well benefit from a greater understanding of and acting in accordance with this generational divide.