“In the emerging yottabyte age, let’s ensure the sovereignty of the people over the databases by holding to account those with the keys to the machine…” (David Rowan, Wired Magazine April 2013)
We asked Nick Ray, CEO of aiHit, should we be worried?
“David Rowan’s article perfectly sums up both the potential and the risks of a “big data” world. Knowledge is power and big data increases that power.
In his article, David worries that the power is concentrated in the hands of big business and not in the hands of the hapless consumer, who’s surfing habits, shopping habits, social media presence, credit score and much more besides is being covertly harvested, aggregated, dissected and analysed.
The internet and its ability to make information freely available at the click of a mouse was supposed to empower citizens; to level the playing fields and open up opaque markets – and to a great extent it has.
But collation of big data and the complex proprietary algorithms that process and analyse it are the preserve of big organisations, who know a lot more about you than you know about them.
So while individuals have benefitted from access to a wealth of free information on the internet, one area remains opaque to the average net user – information on the businesses they deal with. A company’s own web-site provides a highly selective view of their business and only includes the data they want to share with the world. More detailed information and analysis has to be bought from statutory bodies and company data providers.
At aiHit, we are harvesting and aggregating data on millions of businesses from dozens of sources and tracking their “digital history” to build company profiles that provide in-depth insights. So we will be offering net users the ability to get a wealth of information on millions of businesses from a single place and in a concentrated, digestible form – for free. (And by applying our own algorithms to the billions of digital footprints those businesses leave on the web – our big data – we will be publishing new insights, spotting new trends and forming new judgements.)
In the interests of fairness, we will allow those businesses to correct errors and add detail to their profiles.
The question is will the owners of big data extend the same courtesy to you, the consumer?”
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