Big data, big impacts, small "me"

2 Nov 2018

With the promise of a digital world, we stand before an incredible opportunity to finally solve some of the world's most intractable problems. And yet society's adoption of a digital world outpaces its understanding of who owns the data, who can use it, and to what end. Every consumer product and most consumer habits today generate personal data. By 2020, 20 billion connected devices will exist.

The processing and analysis of this data will offer much greater opportunities and efficiency gains for government, industry and society to solve some of our biggest problems. Yet no one, including governments, is 100% sure just how much personal data they generate, who has access to it, or how it gets used. Recurrent cyber-security incidents threaten to overshadow the immense positive power of big data, like "Cambridge Analytica" where the personal data of nearly 100 million people was illegally harvested (and likely leveraged to help win an election in the US), or Equifax losing the social security numbers, driver's license numbers and contact details of approx. 145.5 million customers to hackers. The challenge: How might we ensure that the digital world gives us the data we need to unlock our potential, but also the private lives we deserve?