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What Every Consumer Should Know About Big Data


While “Big Data” may sound like nothing more than a buzzword, many companies are using it for a wide variety of online applications; for instance, to market to customers more effectively. But what is big data, really?

Big data is the collection of information that can be gathered online, which businesses can analyze and use to find patterns, trends or associations that will help them make better decisions. But while big data can be used to enhance user experience and provide targeted ads, there are still some privacy concerns. To help you learn more, eight members of Forbes Technology Council offer their insights into things everyone should know about big data.

1. Big Data Isn’t Moral 

Data is just that — data. Just as the news interprets data, so does every application to determine how to use it. The same data that allows stores to intelligently sell you what you really want may also allow a government to infringe upon your rights. The data is just data, but how it is used determines morality. “1984″ was written before the means were known, but human nature has remained the same.

 2. Aggregation Masks Private Data 

Consumers often fear big data due to privacy concerns. However, if big data is regulated and used properly through aggregation, individuals’ privacy will not be breached, and at the same time, consumers’ experience will be enhanced. I personally love it when Amazon or iTunes recommend products based on aggregated behavioral data.

3. Most Big Data Is There To Help You 

It might sound cliché, but 99% of the organizations using big data are doing so to align you with relevant content or experiences (and spare you from those that have nothing to do with you). The better the data and analysis, the better the experience you’re going to have with the brands and content you engage with. And it’s more likely you’ll discover new things that are also relevant to you.

4. If It’s Online, It’s Discoverable 

In this day and age, it’s important to treat any data you give online as discoverable. Anything you put out there will be found no matter how many times you delete it. If it goes online, someone is archiving it. Take this into consideration before posting anything on the web and you’ll be just fine!

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