Weekly Big Data Review: Privacy and China

This week NSA whistleblower Ed Snowden leaked new details about the agency’s surveillance efforts, Motorola unveiled a sensor-packed phone, and The Economist released a study that shows Chinese companies are adopting Big Data faster than cloud computing, mobile and even information security.

The latest batch of documents Snowden handed over to The Guardian and Washington Post sheds light on the NSA’s use of electronic implants and concealed antennas to eavesdrop on the EU delegation to the U.S.. It also contains multiple references to on-premise “FBI interception units” that collect user data from Facebook, Yahoo, Google and other major tech firms.

Consumers who may be interested in buying Motorola’s Moto X should take specific note of the search giant’s privacy track record. The upcoming Android device sports an array of sensors that can tell what you’re doing at any given time. Motorola says that the the Moto X can distinguish between a purse and a pocket, detect if the user is driving or walking, and modify its behavior accordingly. The manufacturer claims that that the handset leverages this data to optimize power consumption and improve user experience, but that may not be all it’s doing.

The Moto X is expected to hit stores in October. It will be available across all cellular networks, much to the dismay of Verizon.

Mobility and cloud computing are enjoying wide adoption in organizations across the Western Hemisphere, but less so in the Far East. According to a recent survey conducted by the Economist’s research unit, less than 10 percent of Chinese businesses leverage cloud services and fewer than half support BYOD. In contrast, 57 percent of healthcare providers, 64 percent of construction companies and 65 percent of energy firms utilize analytical solutions to extract insights from their data.