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Big data: With great data comes great responsibility

Open Access Government – “Dr Florian Kerschbaum from the University of Waterloo, argues that with great data comes great responsibility in this big data focus. Big data helps us combat the pandemic and build cleaner tech-nology – amongst many other benefits. We collect exposure data to contain and trace the spread of the coronavirus. Genome databases can help build better medications and vaccines. Personalised medicine may eventually allow defeating cancer. We collect household energy consumption to build a smart grid that helps save energy and supports renewable energy sources. Car and ride-sharing services in combination with electrical cars will eventually revolutionise transportation and lead to significantly lower carbon emissions. All these services are based on the collection, processing and sharing of big data, personal data. They come with great societal benefits, but they also come with risks if not handled properly. Personal data stored within large repositories of companies are regularly exfiltrated in data breaches. Almost every individual in Western society has been subject to their data being exposed in almost always multiple data breaches. Nation-state actors have been exposed to conduct cyber-espionage on individuals and companies. Although it is 2021, George Orwell’s novel 1984 is a distinct possibility nowadays. So, we must ask ourselves: How do we combine Western civil liberties with the advance of ubiquitous data collection technologies?…”

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