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Big Data

Big Data

29 May 2020

The Good and the Not-So-Good  

The inherent risks of big data are well known. Companies are tracking every piece of data about consumers while making a hefty profit from selling the information.

Still, the issue of whether big data is ultimately good or evil is not so clear cut. Some industries are using big data to make crucial advances, while others are using it for innovative – but questionable – purposes.

The good: big data in health care

The health care industry has slowly made the move to digitizing important patient records. This makes it easier to care for patients but also provides large data sets for learning more about patient populations.

With a vast amount of data available, researchers and health care providers can extract data to improve their insights. The associations and patterns learned can help providers to improve treatments, lower costs and ultimately save lives. These patterns can also help to identify at-risk populations to get them into a provider’s office for preventative treatment.

In this case, increased access to patient data is helping to advance the industry for current and future patients. The research is still young, but big data – data sets so large that they require sophisticated programs to process – looks promising for advancing the health care industry.

The not-so-good: big data in society

We’re familiar with the idea of private companies tracking our financial history to assign us a credit score. But what about a social credit score that ranks our trustworthiness as humans?

A social credit system is becoming a reality in China. The plan has been in talks since the late 2000s and is supposed to fully launch in 2020.

The system would rank citizens based on their trustworthiness, taking into account things like citations, crimes and debts. However, there is some confusion about the what the system will track as there are private companies creating similar products to the one the Chinese government plans to launch.

The private companies tend to include other factors like personal shopping habits and social networks in their score. The government will likely use data that private companies collect, but it is still unclear what the relationship is.

Once in effect, a score would be tied to an individual’s personal identification number and could limit certain activities. For example, if someone owes the government money, he or she may not be allowed certain privileges.

There are always broader implications to the data you make available to private companies. Some can be lifesaving, while others could put you on the blacklist.

To keep your business up to date on the latest in data privacy, contact IDMI.Net.

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