Big data: the greater good or invasion of privacy?

Chatterjee has a good, quick, article on the significance of ‘big data.’. Note experts warning that, as a result of massive data aggregation, almost all individuals will have secret or sensitive information about themselves stored, traded, or used in the course of companies’ daily activities. This information isn’t necessarily about anything illegal, but legality is not the sole benchmark for whether humans want others to know things about them: embarrassing, shameful, or similar information that may not break the law could be financially, personally, or emotionally damaging should it be provided to third-parties.

Also, take note of Ohm’s warning that we should slow down and think about what is happening with regard to massive data aggregation and mining; we shouldn’t just commit ourselves to pushing the ‘privacy envelope.’ Headlong rushes and acceptance of novel technical structures that invisibly affect billions, with little clear accountability for corporate data mining practices, is a recipe for constructing futural harms.