Yesterday morning I had the opportunity to lead devotions for the Operation Christmas Child team in Charlotte and I spoke on not worrying for the future and taking risks for God. Thought I would share what I said yesterday. Mark 10: 29-31 says, No one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age. I thought this scripture was encouraging. Although it is hard for me to imagine leaving everything behind for Jesus, as the disciples did, I know that God will provide everything I need and more. Shane Clairborne in Irresistable Revolution goes on to say, Rather than accumulating stuff for oneself, followers of Jesus abandon everything, trusting in God alone for providence. Matthew 10:28 says, We should not fear those things which can destory the body, but we are to fear that which can destory the soul. Claiborne comments, We Christians are not called to safety, but we are promised that God will bewith us when we are in danger, and there is no better place to be than in the hands of God. It may be difficult to take leaps of faith, but God is constantly surrounding us and providing for us. He wants us to fully trust in Him so that His will be done, not our own.
I was recently asked by a client how I thought Big Data impacted customer privacy risks. Below is my top 10 list, but I welcome any alternative thoughts that others may have: Risks of re-identifying data that was initially de-identified.
While the initial source data may have been scrubbed of personally identifying details, when aggregated with other sources, it enables individuals to be identified. (ex. according to a 2013 Financial Times article, combining just three data elements, birthday, gender and postal code is all that someone needs to uniquely identify at least 87 per cent of US Citizens in a publicly available database). Due to the greater sophistication of new analytics tools, the risk of re-identification becomes more likely with Big Data. Possible deduction of private information from publicly available information. Through assessing buying patterns, monitoring participation on social media sites, etc. it can be possible to deduce personal lifecycle elements that an individual would rather keep private (ex. Likelihood of pending divorce, sexual orientation etc. ). With the upsurge in data being collected and shared, this risk becomes much more likely with Big Data. Risk of data breach. Even if a company is using an individualБs data carefully, it can fall into the wrong hands and then be used for illegal or unethical purposes. While this has always been a risk, the increased volume of data, the number of hand-off points involved in manipulating the data, the increased use of 3rd party data brokersm and cloud technologies, arguably make Big Data analytic systems more vulnerable and tempting to hack. Insider Threats. While there have always been risks of people within a company taking or misusing data for personal reasons, the richness of the analytics now being drawn from big data sets, may make this practice more tempting and easier by putting visualization and reporting tools in the hands of more people outside of a small core of IT specialists.
Personal data being sold and shared. While an individual may willingly grant permission for one company to use their data for a specific purpose, they may not have anticipated how that company may be sharing the data with other companies. While this may always have been the case, this risk is likely higher in Big Data as the rewards for monetizing the valuable data is growing. Risk of personal data and analytical insights being used for unintended purposes. While companies are collecting and storing data about buying patterns, this data could potentially be used in the future for things such as legal fights (ex. alcohol buying patterns in child custody cases), insurance claim denials based on facebook postings etc. ) This risk is much greater in the Big Data world due to the volumes of data being collected, the data mining tools that enable the discovery process etc. Current personal data being used far in the future. While people may be comfortable sharing certain information now, they may change their mind in the future (ex. A politician running for office who would rather not have their teenage MySpace partying pictures surface during the election). While this has always been an issue, the inexpensiveness of storage in Big Data tools makes it more likely that companies, governments will hold on to information longer than ever.
Location tracking. With the huge expansion of GPS trackers in phones, cars etc. people may not be aware that their movements can, and in some cases, are being monitored. This location data can be used by any number of people including governments Б something which a lot of people believe is a violation of personal liberty. While government monitoring has always been present in some form, the new data sources and enhanced tools in Big Data make the scope of the risk much bigger (ex. Mr. Snowden\’s NSA disclosures) Losing customer trust unintentionally. From a companyБs perspective, tactics that they use to help streamline market efforts or improve the customer experience through customization may backfire, if customers donБt feel their data is being used in ways they didnБt think of. The potential to do more things that anger customers is much larger under Big Data due to the proliferation of data points and tracking tools. Breaking laws or compliance issues unintentionally. Because the business analytics market is changing so fast, the laws are still evolving and differ from region to region. The complexity of Big Data sources and the associated tools make mean that there is a greater risk than before of unintentionally being on the wrong side of the law. Source Financial Times Б Confronting the Privacy and Ethical Risks of Big DataБ Frank Buytendijk, Jay Heiser, Sept 24, 2013).