Big data enables to check, control and know everything. But to know everything entails an obligation to act on behalf of and to protect the customer. Such an obligation is that organization should do everything possible to protect (sensitive) data sets and to be open and clear what is done with that data. Big data ethics is also related to that although anything is possible to know, it should not always be known or those people within an organization entitled to know sensitive information should only know it. In The Netherlands, it became clear that sensitive Electronic Health Records could be accessed by anyone in the hospital, even the administrative clerks who could check what his or her neighbor was doing in the hospital or an intern who could see why a student was treated in a psychiatric institution. These important privacy breaches should be prevented with the right ethics in place within an organization.

But access to data is not the only important aspect of Big Data ethics. The fact that our privacy is not for granted any more became quite clear after the NSA files were made public in the summer of 2013. All of a sudden it was public knowledge that the governments basically had unlimited acces to all of your data. But not only governments have access to your data. Many of the largest organisations that you interact with every day know probably more about you than you do yourself. Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn know a lot about you, because you provide that information to them. Although Facebook just released a new, simpeler, privacy policy that does not mean that they collect less data about you. On the contrary; they want to collect a lot more data about you.

Unlike a few years ago, a lot more people understand that services like Google, Facebook or Twitter are not free of charge, but are paid for with our data. How do we feel about that? How do we feel about privacy and security? And what are some of the common Internet values related to privacy? Umbel investigated these important questions and released an infographic that shows us the details of this survey. It turns out that there are still a lot of questions that need to be answered and it is therefore very meaningful that we will get a public debate about data privacy and ethics and how we should deal with it.


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This article originally appeared on Datafloq.