Did You Know Facebook, Twitter, Google Users Are Part Of Big Data? Here’s How To Protect Your Privacy

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New Delhi:If you are a casual user of the internet like almost everybody in India then you probably have a Facebook, Twitter, YouTube/Google Account. What many people don’t know is that the information you provide are being used by marketers to sell products to you even without you knowing about it.

Furthermore the Aadhar database is one of the largest databases in the world as it contains extremely sensitive information of every single Indian in it. However since the Aadhar is protected by law and is legally binding on the government, it will remain out of the scope of this article.

The total amount of data being created by people in the world keeps increasing exponentially and is a huge treasure trove to companies who use this data to mine for information and achieve sales.

For instance, Google is more than 1 million petabytes in size and processes more than 24 petabytes of data a day, 32 billion searches are performed each month on Twitter, more than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month and over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube.

90 percent of the data in the world today has been created in the past two years.In 2012, data was forecasted to double every two years through the year 2020.In 2020, the amount of digital data produced will exceed 40 zettabytes, which is the equivalent of 5,200 gigabytes for every man, woman and child on planet earth.

What exactly does the term “Big Data” mean?

“Big data” is a term for the collection of large data sets and the analysis of these data sets for relationships. The quantity of data in these sets prevents traditional methods of analysis from being effective.

Rather than focusing on precise relationships between individual pieces of data, big data uses various algorithms and techniques to infer general trends over the entire set. What counts is the quantity rather than the quality. Big data looks for the correlation rather than the causation; the "what" rather than the "why."

While there are many benefits to the growth of big data analytics, traditional methods of privacy protections often fail. Many notions of privacy rely on informed consent for the disclosure and use of an individual's private data.

Even if every individual piece of information is stripped of personal information, the relationships between the individual pieces can reveal the individual's identity.

Important questions about the role of Big Data

(1) What potential harms arise from big data collection and how are these risks currently addressed?

(2) What are the legal frameworks currently governing big data, and are they adequate?

(3) How could companies and government agencies be more transparent in the use of big data, for example, by publishing algorithms?

(4) What technical measures could promote the benefits of big data while minimizing the privacy risks?

(5) What experience is happening worldwide with countries trying to address the challenges of big data?

(6) What future trends concerning big data could inform the current debate?

The worst big data privacy risks

1. Discrimination

Big data algorithms have matured significantly over the past several years but despite this technological growth, the legal protections have not advanced much.

This leaves the fear that people will be discriminated against when it comes to services with the best services being reserved for the wealthy and the poorer being left in the lurch.

There are large concerns about automated decision-makingto direct calls at call service centers, evaluate and fire teachers, and even predict potential revolts.

The most significant risk of big data is that it is used to conceal discrimination based on illicit criteria, and to justify the disparate impact of decisions on vulnerable populations.

2. Security breaches leading to identity theft

Public awareness about credit card fraud and identity theft is probably at an all-time high. Unfortunately, the risks remain just as high, especially given the reality that billions of IoT devices in everything from household appliances to cars, remain rampantly insecure.

3. Loss of anonymity

It is increasingly difficult to do much of anything in modern life, without having your identity associated with it.

Moreover, IoT device are a massive data collection engine of users’ most personal information. Individuals are paying for smart devices, and the manufacturers can change their privacy terms at a moment's notice.

How to protect oneself?

Even if users don’t read an entire policy, they should still take a moment before clicking ‘OK’ to consider why and with whom they're sharing their information.

Quit sharing so much on social media. If you only have a few people you want to see photos or videos, then send directly to them instead of posting where many can access them.

Don’t provide information to businesses or other organizations that are not necessary for the purposes for which you’re doing business with them. Unless they really need your address and phone number, don’t give it to them.

Use an anonymous browser, like Hotspot Shield or Tor (The Onion Router) when visiting sites that might yield information that could cause people to draw inaccurate conclusions about you.

Ask others not to share information online about you without your knowledge.

 

References

www.csoonline.com

https://epic.org

 

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