Much of the talk surrounding Big Data relates to its benefits, and to be sure, Big Data has the potential to provide big boosts for all companies and organizations looking to use it. Big Data, however, brings with it lots of questions over how it is currently being used and how it will be used in the future. We’re in the middle of a technological revolution the likes of which we haven’t seen since the introduction of the internet. All sorts of organizations are swamped with information about everything from customers to weather patterns. The amount of data now being generated on a daily basis is astounding, but the implications are still not quite understood. Data can be useful, but what happens when organizations know almost everything there is about you? Could Big Data eventually lead to others having too much control over our lives?
It’s important to understand that most businesses see information as power. The more they know about their customers, the more effective they can become in getting them to buy their products or services. That means businesses have started creating vast databases about the people who closely associate and those who may become customers in the future. Have you ever bought something off of Amazon? More than likely Amazon has plenty of data about you and your buying habits. Do you use a credit card? Your credit card company knows all about what stores you frequent and where you shop online.
From a business standpoint, all this data stands to make their jobs easier, but what happens when that data is used to control the behavior of others? As the old saying goes, “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Having so much data about private individuals could easily lead to an attempt by businesses to influence our actions in ways we may not have thought of before.
In some instances, this is already happening. Companies have taken to monitoring their employee’s actions at every moment of every day. This includes monitoring emails, calls, text messages on company phones, and other forms of communication.