Big Data, Big Problems



With the growth of social media, privacy is something that is becoming a bigger mega trend. This might sound like a contradiction: social media means sharing, right? That is true, which is why most people find themselves feel even more protective over the things they do not want to share. But what if we actually have no say in what’s shared and what not? The internet is full of traces and even the smallest “like” is captured. Not only do we have to worry about things like who sees what, but things like cybercrime and more scary things that could have a big impact.


The term that comes up often with this mega trend is Big Data. The basic meaning of this phrase is that everything we do on a day-to-day basis gets documented one way or another. The most insignificant things become data for someone else to analyze. This can be relevant for companies and their marketing strategies by finding out touch points for example, but also for healthcare and the tracing/tracking of criminal activities. Obviously there’s a dark side to all the accessible data. Hackers and cybercriminals (even cyber bullies) can get their hands on your data and use it against you in a way.

Due to the great advances in capturing and analyzing big data, it becomes even more accessible for everyone. We generate so much data at a fast rate, and it’s made easier to analyze these huge amounts of complex data. That’s why I predict that the actual usage of all this big data grows as technology advances and makes it more understandable for us. Right now it might still be very difficult for you and me to understand end-to-end encryption for example.

An example of a technological advance is the Internet of Things. This is the internetworking of physical devices, vehicles, buildings and other items—embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity that enable these objects to collect and exchange data. (Wikipedia, 2016)
It appears that there is more and more need for a regulatory: a boundary that closes the gap between the automatically generated data bye IoT devices and individual privacy. As IoT devices are being used in the daily life and become more common, they carry a lot of information that is considered private. Therefore they can form a great risk, especially since the gathered data isn’t always manually put there: they automatically collect and store data, and it’s not always clear which data it does and does not store and for how long. Some devices delete certain data (that we probably didn’t know where on there in the first place) after a while. With all these concerns and this growing trend it gets more complicated for governments to reach a common understanding and write fitting laws as far as privacy and IoT devices to ensure it’s people.

As I said in the beginning of the article I think that privacy is a growing trend: it’s becoming more and more relevant in a society that documents almost everything. My question I leave for you is if you think that it’s a reducing trend instead? Would you state that there is a loss of privacy or a growth?


 Reference list

Marr, B. (27-08-2013) Big Data: The Mega-Trend That Will Impact All Our Lives
Retrieved on 24-09-2016 via

ESET Latin America’s Research Team (2013) Trends for 2014: The Challenge of Internet Privacy
Retrieved on 24-09-2016 via

Weber, R. H. (2015) Internet of things: Privacy issues revisited
Retrieved on 24-09-2016 via

Internet of Things
Retrieved on 24-09-2016 via


3 thoughts on “Big Data, Big Problems

  1. Interesting read, I feel strongly about some of the points you made throughout the article.
    Personally, I believe privacy is one of the most respected human qualities. One way or another we all incorporate privacy into our lives, whether it be using the bathroom or messaging our friends. Over the years there has been some vast changes regarding our privacy, especially due to technological advancements. I feel as if the most important point to be made: do I feel safer? In some ways yes and others no.

    The trend of privacy is more prevalent than ever. One of the biggest scandals was Edward Snowden, an American whistleblower who exposed his country’s government for having the ability to hack into anyone’s smartphone at anytime. This caused me to have doubts about my online presence and if I could really trust anyone to keep my data safe. I believe you must always be careful with storing your personal information and data online, however not everyone has a responsible attitude towards this issue. I hope over time we can be more in control of our privacy.

    Written by Henry Gibson


  2. Hi Anonymous,

    Nice article. The title immediately gasped my attention because Big Data is a topic that I find really interesting.

    Yes, there are lot of possibilities and applications with big data. However, like you said, there are some drawbacks too. We tend to think that the internet is a private place, while actually it’s nothing like that. In my opinion one of the biggest drawbacks of Big Data is called behavioral tracking. Behavioral tracking is used by companies to gather information on you to sell to 3th parties (Kovacs, 2012). It actually means that you are being followed on the web. Everything that you do on the web is being registered. There are few regulations on this matter because it is relitvely new (Kovacs, 2012).

    However, I do miss some of the benefits of Big Data in your article. Because in my opinion it’s not only the big companies that profit from this new industry. You can benefit from it as well. For example, if you get recommendations for movies you might like or people that you know from elementary school on Facebook. In contrast to television Big data can filter out a tampon commercial for you if you are a 78-year-old male living in the mountains of Tibet.

    The fact that I will lose some privacy doesn’t bother me so much, if that results in preventing a bombing (Cukier, 2014).

    Cukier, K. (2014, June). Big data is better data [Video file]. Retrieved 8 January, 2017, from

    Kovacs, G. (2012, May 3). Tracking the trackers [Video file]. Retrieved 8 January, 2017, from


  3. I think privacy is a very big deal. And it’s also something that you can’t always be sure of. You might think the information you share with your friends is private and only for your eyes, but who knows what the big companies behind the applications on your phone can or can’t read.

    Some people might say; my privacy is no problem, they can read whatever they want, my phone is no secret. But I think they’re not aware of the fact that once it’s actually done, they don’t like it anymore.

    A fun but true example of this is a video I saw online a few days ago. It’s about a new law in Holland that will give the government the right to check everyone’s phone in a certain area once a suspected person lives in the same area. This is a way to catch criminals sooner. But it also means that the privacy of the people in the neighborhood is violated.

    In the next video the host of the show asks people on the street what they think about this new law. People react as if they don’t care, they don’t have any secrets on their phone anyway. Then the host asks them if he can scroll through their pictures and read their messages. This is the point where people don’t like it anymore, and they don’t allow the host to check their phones.

    I think this is the perfect example, people don’t really care about who can read their messages or see their pictures because it seems pretty far away. Until it really happens, and they actually would love to have some privacy! So think twice, and maybe read the conditions of the next application you download!


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