Big Data’s own Big brother, the White House!

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Big Data under the microscope

Big Data’s Big Brother

It seems the folks down at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue are keeping a close eye on all things big data.  This month saw the White House issued an Interim progress report on Big Data, Titled: BIG DATA: SEIZING OPPORTUNITIES, PRESERVING VALUE (here).  It seems the White House might be a little concerned much of the (NSA-type) technology that the security service use so solicitously so keep their citizens safe from harm may have made its way into the public sector. 

Recognizing that these technologies have implications beyond the national security arena, the President also called for a wide-ranging review of big data and privacy to explore how these technologies are changing our economy, our government, and our society, and to consider their implications for personal privacy. The goal of the review was to understand what is genuinely new and different about big data and to consider how best to encourage the potential of these technologies while minimizing risks to privacy, fair treatment, and other core American values.

Hmm…  no doubt Snowden supporters will be snickering at this.

The bottom line is that the White House is concerned that this tool can be used for good and evil (they of course should know this).  Instead of the Pros and Cons, they use the term Seizing Opportunities and Preserving our Values – gotta love it!

SEIZING OPPORTUNITIES

We live in a world of near-ubiquitous data collection where that data is being crunched at a speed increasingly approaching real-time. This revolution presents incredible opportunities:

  • Big data is saving lives.
  • Big data is making the economy work better.
  • Big data is saving taxpayer dollars

 PRESERVING OUR VALUES

The opportunities presented by big data are considerable, but big data raises serious concerns about how we protect our privacy and other values. For example:

  • Big data tools can alter the balance of power between government and citizen.
  • Big data tools can reveal intimate personal details.
  • Big data tools could lead to discriminatory outcomes.

The White House issued another report just last week titled “Big Data and Differential Pricing” (here).  It is all about how companies are using Big Data to change the rules..

The White House report identifies two trends driving the increased application of big data to marketing and consumer analytics.  The first trend is the widespread adoption of new information technology platforms, most importantly the Internet and the smartphone.  These platforms give businesses access to a wide variety of applications like search engines, maps, blogs, and music or video streaming services. The second trend is the growth of the ad-supported business model, and the creation of a secondary market in consumer information.  The ability to place ads that are targeted to a specific audience based on their personal characteristics makes information about consumers’ characteristics particularly valuable to businesses.  This, in turn, has fostered a growing industry of data brokers and information intermediaries who buy and sell customer lists and other data used by marketers to assemble digital profiles of individual consumers.

The anecdotal evidence suggests that sellers are using pricing practices that fall in three categories:  (1) exploring the demand curve; (2) steering and differential pricing based on demographics; and (3) behavioral targeting and personalized pricing.

More Here… [The National Law Review]

 

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