Why Power, Not Privacy, Is at Stake in Online Data Tracking
The degree to which companies can yield the power of individuals' data to explain societal behavior gives them unprecedented amounts of power. Privacy is a relatively minor concern.
What's the Latest Development?
Based on purchasing data, the retailer Target can tell when women are pregnant, often before extended family members know. And to judge consumer behavior, Google tracks click-through rates on 41 different shades of blue. While the brave new world of big data has ignited concerns over personal privacy, individuals should be more concerned over what companies know about our society as a whole, says Alexander Furnas, a student at the Oxford Internet Institute. More than knowing details about individuals, understanding how we all behave gives companies unprecedented amounts of power.
What's the Big Idea?
The ethical implications of big data remain mostly unexplored but one already worrying topic involves the concept of asymmetric data. Information-driven companies like Facebook, Amazon and Google have vast stores of data which are meant for company eyes only. "Thus, industry outpaces academia," said Furnas, "and the people building and implementing persuasive technologies know much more than the critics. ...the persuaders [have] more power than the persuaded." To accurately understand the stakes of big data, we should understand our personal information in terms of power rather than privacy.
Photo credit: Shutterstock.com
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
A new study explores how certain personality traits affect individuals' attitudes on obesity in others.
- The study compared personality traits and obesity views among more than 3,000 mothers.
- The results showed that the personality traits neuroticism and extraversion are linked to more negative views and behaviors related to obesity.
- People who scored high in conscientiousness are more likely to experience "fat phobia.
Meanwhile, Spaniards are the least likely to say their culture is superior to others.
- Survey by Pew Research Center shows great variation in chauvinism across Europe.
- Eight most chauvinist countries are in the east, and include Russia.
- British much more likely than French (and slightly more likely than Germans) to say their culture is "superior" to others.
The history of the Geneva Conventions tells us how the international community draws the line on brutality.
- Henry Dunant's work led to the Red Cross and conventions on treating prisoners humanely.
- Four Geneva Conventions defined the rules for prisoners of war, torture, naval and medical personnel and more.
- Amendments to the agreements reflect the modern world but have not been ratified by all countries.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.