Breaking Analysis: Big Data Hits the Bigtime?

Europe is trying to address privacy issues with a proposal that’s been termed the “right to be forgotten.” Currently, users’ internet actions, whether they be Facebook updates or online purchases, are collected by various parties. The concept of the “right to be forgotten” is a privacy issue that focuses on that data not being collected, and not be aggregated to provide a view of a person’s history and patterns. He said, “Consumers in Europe feel uncomfortable with their data being tracked and their online personas being available to retailers and others. They want to have the right to be forgotten . . . they want it to be their choice.”

The European Network and Information Security Agency or ENISA has published its assessment of the proposals. In general, Kelly believed ENISA was sympathetic to the goals of these proposals, but overall, he extracted that the bottom line was that it’s not practical or even possible to enforce those kinds of rules, mainly because the internet is worldwide and not policed by any one country. Kelly said, “I think what this report is really saying is that the reality today is that we all create a lot of data. There’s really no way to have it be forgotten . . . frankly, it’s just not feasible.” Kelly commented that in order to allay these concerns to a certain degree, consumers have to see their data being put to good use, not just to the benefit of business, but to their benefit as well.

Google is under scrutiny for promoting its own services in search results, and there’s talks of huge fines and even detailed regulatory control coming into play. Kelly thinks that one way to deal with this issue is to focus on the data and determine what the best results are to a user. He said to let the data decide could be the best approach. If there were ever to be an open, non-commercial search engine, he said that big data and analytics would be the keys to delivering the most relevant results with no biases involved whatsoever.

Big Data is getting its very own book called “The Human Face of Big Data.” The book demonstrates how big data is used in the real world, not only in commercial settings, but in society at large. With all the hype surrounding big data and the election earlier this year and now this book, it seems as though Big Data is emerging into the “bigtime.” Kelly agreed that big data is starting to become more mainstream. He observed that there’s a growing interest in big data and predictive analytics to the point where the term “big data” is not even a buzzword anymore. People are starting to understand that data-driven analysis, data-driven business, and data-driven decisions are all part of big data. See the entire segment with Kristin Feledy and Jeff Kelly on the Morning NewsDesk Show.