If there are pros to big data, there are cons too. The negative impact of big data is subtly hidden in the trail of digital traces we unknowingly leave.
The hype around big data is undeniable, especially since organizations have felt its vast benefits. Today, every industry uses big data as a powerful tool to serve various different purposes. As industries delve deeper into the landscape of big data, it is crucial for them to grasp the possibility that if deployed carelessly, the negative impact of big data is a real possibility.
Data is easily accessible nowadays. A single click and a pool of diverse information is presented to us. However, has the thought ever occurred to you that more than half of this data is the amassment of human personal information? A simple action, like logging into social media sites or inputting private details in banks and hospitals for compliance purposes, can leave a digital trail. Just imagine, this happens on a global level and at a continuous pace.
However, what we don’t realize is that this information can be more valuable than we think. Let’s get ourselves to accept that the possibility for negative impact of big data is always around the corner. By agreeing to reveal personal data, our right to privacy and security is compromised and we become susceptible to data breaches. Incidents of people falling prey to scams that offer a huge amount of money or a stalker who gets access to an address because of a profile being public, are incidents that are not unheard of. The negative impact of big data has reached huge industries, like in the case of retail and banking; these industrial sectors are known to scrutinize customer behavior and user activity to increase their market reach and acquire financial profits.
Most people are unaware of the ways in which data can be misused, until they become victims of data manipulation or even worse, a theft or a fraud. While we may casually enter a store or sit down to order from our favorite site, we have no idea that the store or company already has a fair idea about our preferences. They hold insights on our buying capacity and our market knowledge. No wonder the products we seem to fancy most, but are out of our budget, are always on sale!
But what about more critical fields like healthcare and insurance companies? They have direct access to confidential information. Let’s consider hackers and data thefts. It seems like a far-off possibility until it actually occurs. Data, when it reaches the wrong hands, can hack down an entire organization or government. Thus, it is crucial that organizations and governments take all possible steps and measures to curb the negative impact of data as much as possible.
Those who are tech-savvy and privileged have higher chances of staying safe. But what about individuals who are under-resourced or lack the technical know-how? There’s always a risk for them to fail at concepts like risk analysis and data scoring. For instance, banks and insurance companies track the payment history of customers and accordingly reduce or increase their credit limit. This way, the rich and privileged experience more luxury, while the middle class ends up becoming victims of big data negativity.
Talking about risk analysis, the best and most recent example would be the use of big data for regional and national security purposes. While governments are in the pursuit of detecting terrorists, they might end up discriminating against people of a certain race or religion. Consequently, innocent lives may end up behind bars. One simply cannot ignore the adverse effect of such stratification and the negative impact of big data on innocent people.
Anything that is unmonitored leaves an opportunity for exploitation. The same is the case with big data. While big data is not bad in itself, it can have undesirable effects if the people involved in its use have malicious intentions. It is time that individuals and organizations become aware of the value personal data and information holds and adopt a more transparent approach.
Naveen is the Founder and CEO of Allerin, a software solutions provider that delivers innovative and agile solutions that enable to automate, inspire and impress. He is a seasoned professional with more than 20 years of experience, with extensive experience in customizing open source products for cost optimizations of large scale IT deployment. He is currently working on Internet of Things solutions with Big Data Analytics. Naveen completed his programming qualifications in various Indian institutes.