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The Two Faces of Big DataWhat is Big Data & Why is It Beneficial/ Harmful?

Donald Trump’s election as US president gave the world a great shock. Many poll investigations had predicted Hillary Clinton. However, Google, the data giant was correct. Google had predicted Trump’s election. Google claimed that based on their data of people’s searching, people were more interested in candidate Trump than Clinton; people searched more about Trump. While most polls went wrong, Google made an accurate result, how was this possible?

Google is the largest searching engine currently. Google handles about 2 trillion (2016) searches per year. That makes 63,000 searches per second. The tremendous amount of people’s search result gives the ‘Data Giant’ clues for its foreseeing. According to what people type in their search engines, Google can earn information about what people are interested in. Thus, they can predict elections, invest in new industries and lead the future of the world. Predicting Trump’s winning is one of the cases.

data (information) made on the internet while 1 minutes

As we can cite in Google’s surprisingly accurate reports based on their data, data is becoming the most important tool of the future. Big Data, a further version of Data, is considered as the key that will lead the future industries. What is big data? Big Data is a set of data which is so voluminous and complicated that the original managing system cannot handle. Google’s data on what people search on is also a kind of Big Data. Big Data is used to make accurate predictions, to foresee future industries, to look at what people are interested in, and to search the current movement of the market, etc. Big Data is very helpful for industries, of course. Moreover, it helps the innovation throughout world industries by predicting the future.

However, Big Data and Data Giants (aka. Google) are not always beneficial. One of the issues they have about their actions is the violation of privacy. It is known that many violations on privacies are made by Data Giants, especially while they collect data. Why is collecting data illicit or making problems? There are many kinds of data those giants can collect. From types and search results, their location, and even people’s talks- every one of this makes data. The problem is that some private information such as dialogues or locations is saved without individual’s consent. Take the case of Google; google has been collecting location data from Android phones; even when location services are turned-off by the user. As long as the Internet is available, no matter the SIM card or the power, the phone sends the user’s location to Google servers without the permission or knowing of the individual. More shocking, Google’s Home Mini speaker randomly sends secretly recorded conversations to Google, while the user himself never can know what happens. These situations are apparently violating privacies. Though Google asserts that those collecting are never saved up, the fact that it was collected and sent without the consensus of the user, it makes it illicit.

As technology advances and SNS thrive, our privacy faces more danger of being illegally collected or violated. It is not only Google that we should worry about but the network, where information fluids. While we are ignorant about it, our privacy might be leaked and watched by a giant server unknown. Eventually consisting a society like ‘Oceania’ in the novel ‘1984’ where every private information and data is controlled. To persist Google from being the ‘Big Brother’ of our future, reinforcement on privacy protection is needed. Also, we should know that we can be watched anywhere, anytime and be aware of the network.

Big Data is useful in our society. It promotes innovations and opens the door to the future. However, Data Giants (aka. Google) concentrated more on the quantity and quality of the data collected, and how to analyze the tremendous amount of Big Data. I would like to assert to our society, industries, and the Big Data itself to considered on HOW to collect it. Morality and justice, respect for human rights and privacy are needed in the current Big Data industries.

Keep your Privacy Safe!

허윤서  na0ah@naver.com

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