The Age of Big Data is Crushing Privacy


Do you agree? Let me state for the record  I love data.

Data creates Jobs. Organizations need people to manage and analyze raw data into useful information.

Data reveals Truth. Numbers don’t lie.

Data analysis unveils Facts. Strategies based on facts have a solid foundation for success.

Data is Power. Gartner states Big Data will drive $232 billion in spending through 2016.

Data drives Predictive Analytics. Insights based on historical facts – think FICO score.

Unless you are using cash for your purchases every transaction you currently make means a host of vendors are collecting data: What time the transaction took place, what was purchased, what store location (brick and mortar or online), what coupons were used etc. Beyond that though the data can be and is married to other data points: Was that a clearance item, sale item or full price item?, Does that item sell better in one of those conditions? Was it part of an ad campaign? What is the average transaction amount during certain day parts, week days, holidays? Wal*Mart collects more than 2.5 petabytes of data every hour from it’s customer base. That is information consumers are giving them for free.

In return retailers are molding marketing and advertising efforts  which focus limited resources on areas that will have the greatest ROI is enhanced

How is Data Crushing Privacy?

Well it isn’t. Not really. As consumers we willingly give up our privacy. Aside from your spending habits, the growing popularity of the Internet of Things, log on to any social channel:  Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, post your resume on LinkedIn, create a profile and hangout on Google+ etc, know that companies large and small are monitoring every one of these channels for their own purposes.

The outcome of which is targeted ads on websites and smartphones, email and snail mail campaigns, cold calls because you downloaded that white paper. The real question here is did that “invasion” of your privacy yield a sale? If so, then everyone wins, if not, do you care that you were “disturbed? Most of us don’t.

Which begs the question “Has the definition of privacy changed?” No. Privacy is still the state or condition of being free from being observed or disturbed by other people and being free from public attention.

What has changed is the cultural norm of sharing personal information.

Marketers find the target market segment (analyzing data) and present the value proposition (the pitch) and hope you buy. With Big Data on their side you are more likely to do so.

Win/Win Right?

This infographic from CSC  explores really cool statistics around Big Data. You can download it here.



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