Ethics of Big Data: Balancing Risk and Innovation

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Ben Rothke

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Wikipeadia defines big data as a collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools. The challenges include capture, curation, storage, search, sharing, analysis and visualization.

In the ramp up and embrace to big data, many organizations don’t think about the ethical questions raised by the big data phenomenon.

In Ethics of Big Data: Balancing Risk and Innovation, authors Kord Davis and Doug Patterson provides an interesting look at the ethical issues around big data.

While few organizations have specific policies around big data, even less how though about the ways in which people in their organization use that data and the ethical issues involved.

The benefits of big data analytics are significant, but the potential for abuse is also considerable.  The authors lay out a case for organizations to start making business decisions on security and privacy issues around big data.

The authors write that big data is forcing new considerations about values and behavior actions, especially as it gives more people more ways to engages, communicate and interact.

The book is meant to help organizations develop a framework for having explicit ethical discussions to help maintain a balance between the risks and benefits of big data.

The book also provides an alignment methodology framework in which to build a big data ethical framework.

At fewer than 70 pages, the book is a brief overview of a much large topic.

For those dealing with big data, they need to start thinking about the ethical issues involved and Ethics of Big Data: Balancing Risk and Innovation is an excellent resource to help with that effort.

Cross-posted from RSA

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