Latest posts by Alvin Bryan (see all)
- Millionaire Tyupkin Malware ATM Hackers May Come to US, India After Hitting Europe - October 23, 2014
- BitLicense Will Allow Bitcoin Spying in New York - October 22, 2014
- Australians are Fighting Data Retention Laws - October 22, 2014
What most of us know about big data is that companies and agencies gather our details to use them for marketing and to spy on us. So, many have begun to use a VPN to prevent it. But big data has other implications that we need to consider. In a recent interview, Cloudera’s Michael Olson discussed what big data really means today. We have been hearing this term, big data, and not really understanding how it affects us and the world. Big data is not just about marketing. Michael Olson explains how big data can effect change on a global scale for the better. And we can use a VPN to protect ourselves from disagreeable uses of big data while we continue to contribute for the greater good.
What is Big Data and how can it be used?
Today’s world has the technology to scoop up details about almost everything. This in itself is not a bad thing if people agree to share their information. The real question for many before they allow companies to gather their data is what they do with it. Michael Olson is a key voice in the issue as Cloudera’s chief strategy officer. He has been instrumental in the $900 million research project on what big data can be used for.
Big data is the term we use to refer to the mass of data that is collected from all sources. With today’s technology, data can be collected from so many different devices. The Internet plays a huge role in the gathering of this data into one pool for analysis. Google started with the idea of using the Internet to do this, and they have succeeded. Other companies have also caught on and built similar systems for data collection and analysis.
Olson says that this data can be and is being used to solve a lot of world problems like food production, medical care and clean energy. But all the data is needed to get accurate results. If companies like Cloudera can’t collect, process and analyze all the data, it doesn’t work that well. Teaming up with other companies around the world is also important. This allows them to take advantage of collective skills and data. But there is still the problem of how other companies use big data. They are not all focused on doing good things for other people. And this is what we individuals have a problem with.
Data Brokers and How to use a VPN to block them
Data brokers are mostly viewed as information scavengers. We think of them as people who take whatever data they can from wherever they can so they can sell it for profit. And this perspective is mostly true. Big data can be a very profitable enterprise, and more profits await those without scruples. This focus on personal gain is what has pushed people to use a VPN to keep data brokers away. When people use a VPN, it prevents data brokers from being able to track their movements to gather viable data. So basically people can use a VPN to keep their data private. This means their data can’t be used to make companies rich without their consent.
But let’s consider the efforts of other companies that are using big data to help others. Olson shared one project with a hospital’s pediatric ICU. There, big data is being used to find out how babies respond to the ICU environment. The goal is to provide better care for these babies. And this is not just about instituting overall care plans. It is about how individual health and medical care providers can change their behaviors to do really help. Now imagine what would happen if half of the babies did not send data. If the data collection devices were prevented from observing their reactions, the experiment would not produce accurate results. This is what happens when people use a VPN to prevent their data from being scooped up.
Of course, in the real world, we do not see ourselves as participants in these worthy projects. We see ourselves as victims of privacy invasion because we did not willingly sign up. Some company websites give users an option to reject participation in data gathering. But many more require that users comply with tracking in exchange for using the websites and related services. This is where people use a VPN to counteract what can be described as a kind of blackmail.
We can use a VPN to regain control over our personal details, which we have a right to exercise. Using a VPN does not mean we have to opt out of everything. We can use a VPN to protect our privacy, and still choose to participate in big data projects that appeal to us. This is a responsible and safe way to use a VPN. We cannot control how others choose to use big data. But we can use a VPN to control what data we send out into the open. This way, we can help while exercising our rights.