June 16, 2013 at 1:11 am #179124
I have been pondering on the push for “Big Data”, and if that is really the way we want to pursue at the greatest possible haste, or maybe we should slow down for a bit. I am not challenging it from the IT side, or the engineering side. Mechanically it can be achieved and that is probably the easiest part. So, enough said on that. It is clear how correlating and sharing of “big data” can be utilized for the betterment of mankind. But, thinking about this, and excuse the analogy of the Star Wars perspective, there is also a very “dark side” too big data and how it can be used. Is it wise to pursue big data so vigorously before the moral perspectives and safeguards of “big data” are in place to keep it from being used for illegitimate or corrupt purposes? It is common knowledge, or should be anyway, that you can’t drive more than 3 blocks in DC (or surrounding area) without having you route tracked by cameras, sensors, or license plate readers of one type or another. And, it is human nature that if this data is available, it will be used, for good or evil or both. Should we be advocating “big data” and the sharing of the “big data” before we have the safeguards to ensure that the “big data” is not abused? What sparked my wondering was in one office I worked in, we were using e-Verify, a database to determine if you are legally authorized to work in the US. It will also show a picture of you if one is available (I was expecting the picture from my maroon colored passport to show up). As we played with it so I could see what it actually looked like, I was looking at the picture from my retired military ID. I was a little troubled of how that DHS system has that DOD picture in it, but with the passage of time and the demands of work, I forgot about it as life moved on. Then with all the potential abuses of power, and some may connect the dots and say “big data”, I remembered this. The real question is can government, or one branch of government, be trusted with” big data” and not abuse the capabilities of such against its own citizens? What are the safeguards to keep this from being common place? Specially in light of what we have seen unfolding, and just to mention a few: IRS involved in a scandal that is still unfolding, though it is starting to leak out that the situation was far from being merely couple of rogue agents; the EPA is now being drug into this, as is also the Justice Department; The NSA turning theirs ear inside the Continental US; The issues with the Department of State; and lastly, though I haven’t checked the headlines today, the Department of Veterans Affairs and their acknowledgement that the patient records of 20 million Veterans have been hacked from both China and Russia, multiple times, over the last few years, and they have no idea what was and wasn’t taken and it is coming out that they knew about it all for a very long time and did nothing to stop it.
Should the safeguards on how “big data” is used be in place before we get that “big data” too far along? Some argue, and rightly so, that maybe “big data” has already become too big? Should the oversights and accountability be in place first? I don’t know for sure on this, or maybe I do when I think of what one of our founding fathers stated: “Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”
June 16, 2013 at 1:41 pm #179126
Two separate issues….
Protection of Data:
Believe most of the safeguards are already in place HOWEVER the enforcement/implentation of same at times can be somewhat less than optimal.
The other thing that bothers me is in most cases the agency dealing with the “Big Data” is responsible for the protection of its data in ALL situations
Wish somehow that politics could be completly taken out of the picture but alas…
Needs to be a reasonable balance between protecting the data and a reasonable amount of productivity
Misuse of Data
IMO transparency will go a long way to insure proper usage of big-data.
Again as with the protection of the data the prevention of misuse lies directly on the agency who “owns” the data, which IMO can create some issues about its use
Believe that bipartisan politics needs to be involved in this issue in that a consensus must be reached in the use of the data.
Should be no deviation from the use policy unless there has been an open political agreement for the new usage
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