Big Data

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"“Big data” is a hype-laden concept, but it points to a multi-faceted, emerging phenomenon.2 Data collection and processing have changed dramatically in the last five years. Where once data was collected only for a specific purpose, now massive amounts of data are opportunistically and passively collected and reused in multiple contexts, over an indefinite time frame, often without informed consent. Beyond a shift in scale and persistence, data have become more granular and intrusive, and profoundly interlinked. Using data for predictive modeling can allow us to “fill in the blanks,” anticipating information about others without even needing to collect it. big data is thus challenging our assumptions about what can and can’t be private. And as recent studies have shown, even anonymized data sets can be used to re-identify people.3 In such a context, even the idea of “privacy” is not enough — we need to think more broadly to assess how people might be affected by big data projects." (