Guest Article: Big Data – Are They reasons For Privacy Invasion?

Sushil Pramanick

Sushil Pramanick

There have been hundreds of seminars, millions of tweets, few blogs, tens of LinkedIn group about Big Data topic. The topics cover from use cases to implementation details and product features. Large multinational vendors are betting on the race to get attention from customers and prospects. There are new products and releases at every major Summit and Conference. With Big Data getting the media attention from customers to boardrooms and investors on Wall Street, it is predicted that by 2015, most of the mid-size to large cap companies in specific sectors like Utilities, Communications, Retail, Banking, Healthcare, Hi-Tech and Aviation will launch Big Data projects. As vendors are leading the race, companies are willing to hear them and bet big dollars in implementing Big Data programs. With the evolving technology, big data has already made executives rethink their marketing and operation strategy.

Big data has made a puncture in corporate strategy for many companies. As a result, most CMO, COO and C-suite are engaging strategy consulting firms to guide them through this change. Companies are gathering more data than ever and amusing part is many don’t know if they need that data or not. In my recent Big Data assessment workshop with one of my clients dealing with big data, the executive from customer had specifically asked if they should be storing everything that they had been for past year. Surprisingly, and unknowingly consumers are being tracked every event and every interaction. Facebook is one of several companies that secretly track you at millions of websites. Recently I installed DNT (Do Not Track) ad-on on Firefox and realized CNN has around 11 tracking cookies.


Facebook and many third party companies are tracking every click that you make on the web not only on their site but also on other commercial and social sites. This is stored mostly as anonymous data but these cookies can capture significant information about individual from life style, age, income level, interests and likes, profession or occupation, buying patterns.

Now imagine your Call Records at work and personal. Companies are now recording CDR (Call Detail Record) to analyze the pattern including speech recognition for better customer service, competitive pricing and next best offers. It can also use to analyze training issues and performance. Your personal mobile device transmits location information back to carriers, service providers and vendors that can track your location and duration. New vehicles are being researched and will be launched with advanced telematics data that can provide you with real-time coupons and shopping deals based on your preference and social profile. Intelligence will be built over period of time that would use artificial intelligence to provide you with personalized offers based on previous buying habits and patterns.

Recently, A Wall Street Journal investigation published in Saturday’s newspaper examines a fast-spreading technology that police and private companies alike are using to build databases of Americans’ movements by car. The Journal has obtained a sizeable sample of one of these databases – collected by the sheriff of Riverside County, Calif. — through public-records requests there. Riverside is one of California’s largest counties, and the Journal’s two-year sample contains data on about 2 million unique license plates. Riverside County has about 1.6 million registered vehicles.

With sophistication in technology now and more to come, every second of human life can now be tracked, captured and analyzed. New businesses models are evolving and coming up as a service. Encore is building and exploring Big Data As A Service (BDAAS) that would capture all Social Media data – FB, Twitter, Foursquare, Tumble, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, Tumblr, WordPress, Instagram, Blogger, Flickr, Klout…and provide the social profile for individuals to organizations ready to buy that data for targeting audience. So someone will be making profits from selling your data to someone else. Now mash that data with credit scores, criminal records, driving history, internal emails, calls, notes that organizations capture at work place, this will make 3600 profile of a customer. Privacy will be at risk and next time you think about using web or gadget, think about someone tracking your every move. Welcome to Big Data age!


Author Bio

Sushil Pramanick is an Associate Partner at IBM Global Business Services and a senior information technology executive. Sushil has consistently ranked in Top 50/100/200 industry rankings in Big Data Analytics and Data Science. Sushil is also founder and president of a global non-profit origanization – The Big Data Institute (TBDI).



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