Big Data Ethics: Rearranging the Puzzlers

March 7, 2015
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For a software developer or even somebody who manages databases, Big Data is a revolutionary approach, targeting eye-popping alternatives, into the future. The hype surrounding the same however fails to excite me as Big Data is only getting its due, in terms of appraisal and attention alike.

For a software developer or even somebody who manages databases, Big Data is a revolutionary approach, targeting eye-popping alternatives, into the future. The hype surrounding the same however fails to excite me as Big Data is only getting its due, in terms of appraisal and attention alike.

Data is important to say the least and for me putting together the elusive jigsaw holds a lot of importance, more so, owing to the technical background I hail from. Big Data solves a lot of contradictory issues for me, almost seamlessly but the lingering security strides might still dampen the spirits, a tad bit. With the stature of my work, security and confidentiality do matter and will Big Data survive these acid tests, happens to be the all important query.

If transparency is compromised upon, we need to revisit the data ownership as well besides limiting the interferences on the way. My entrepreneurial framework reeked stagnation before I resorted to the Big Data chunks. The newness associated with the data analytics is meager but the scale is humongous, dealing with a lot of private information, off-late. The ethical framework stands at an assuring level with the developers having access to the far-flung sources. Data troves need to be revealed in order to gain traction, and for my business, Big Data was more of a savior.

While data secrecy still remains an elusive art which can be brought back to life with encryption techniques and likewise strategies, my focus lies upon the emergence of Big Data and its undertones. The digital society basks under the existing issues of legality but the risks are going down, with each passing hour.

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WhatsApp’s acquisition was a giant leap towards addressing Big Data issues and Facebook did make few monster strides with this $16 act. It all started with a thought, which compelled Facebook to go for a ‘No Ad’ version which would be immensely popular amongst the youngsters and experienced flock alike. I was pretty amazed on hearing that the ode to acquisition was extended on to SnapChat to begin with. The $3 dollar deal was declined and the reason could be SnapChat’s insistence towards privacy. More of an ephemeral application, SnapChat bailed out, opening avenues for the WhatsApp.

Big Data consideration did excite Facebook and I could easily relate to the inclination towards the philosophy of an Ad-less and clutter less mobile based interface. Facebook didn’t invest merely for the catchy wallpapers or the WhatsApp status selections onboard but was intrigued by the heightened security and a vaster audience to bank upon. With this messaging application added to the mix, Facebook now has solicited access to the plethoric yet ever-growing data base. With the incentive towards monetizing WhatsApp being revealed, Facebook looks for bigger and better Big Data Tools with a stricter policy to rely upon.

My business makes extensive use of WhatsApp for a better outreach and I might be a bit worried with Facebook having access my clientele and the contact information. Shrinking World, a cross we all need to bear!

I had a strong feeling that Big Data was more about connecting and correlating multiple databases into one. I was right but only partially as the pattern recognition schemas and algorithms made me re-think the entrepreneurial strategies. While Big Data revisited the institutional strategies, the entire NSA concept garnered interest. National security might not be at risk, as of yet but the basic principles underlining the ‘Big Data’ norms can be enumerated as follows:

  • Challenging Privacy and the Associated Contours

Privacy extends farther into the realms of secrecy, besides extending further. Data privacy deals with enforced rules treading onto the vicinities of data collection. Being an entrepreneur, I have always been excited about the private considerations leading into the world of Big Data. Third-party systems featuring analytical options have grown and thus the need for stringent formulations. Massive data banks are to be harnessed but within the guidelines to privacy.

  • Confidentiality and Sharing

I do share a lot of information across the table and most of it is highly confidential. Besides keeping a check on the unsolicited sources, I must look for private areas which would be keeping my data safe without opening up to the competitors. Big Data norms do have a clause for the same with the emphasis now on better hardware extending across GPS considerations and Wi-Fi support. Technology can be paired up with Big Data for rendering the same highly ethical and efficient.

  • Invoking Transparency

We often need to resort to those secondary data chucks with several inferences onboard. With Big Data, the concept of transparency needs to be revisited, mainly for individuals like entrepreneurs, brokers and likeminded individuals. Ethicality can only be ensured if and only if, the transparent hierarchy is kept rooted to the system. For instance, Facebook did frame a contract with WhatsApp, stating the efficacy of this deal and underlining certain guidelines that consumer details won’t be compromised upon, in any case.

  • Identity Compromises: Part of the Big Plan

We must be selective with the extent of surveillance, applied into the mix. Identity compromises are natural but the grand plan has to be initiated, in order to make up for the lackluster theories in play. Staying ethical is difficult with resources galore but one must be practical about the usage of the same.

The enumerated principles hold a lot of importance, lest we apply each one of these with singularity and efficiency. Powerful tech weapons need to be paired along for a better approach towards the same. Handling Big Data alone isn’t sufficient and one must include the ethical side as well, into the grand plan.

Being a database administrator, I have my task cut out with the front line issues cropping up, mostly bringing up lack of privacy and transparency into the mix. Big Data comes with huge, untapped potential but one must lay down the ethical guidelines, for exercising better control and a wider outreach.