Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for January 26th, 2012

Big Data In Davos

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Doggonit, someone lost my invitation to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, once again.

And once again, I’ll have to follow the global, economic bouncing ball remotely via the blogosphere.

And once again, no better place to do so than the NY Times Bits blog.

Nick Bilton posted a scintillating post about Davos this morning, and he suggested this year’s hot topic in Switzerland would be data…and lots of it!

Even “Big Data,” as we at Big Blue have come to define it, but in Bilton’s case describing Davos, the big data discussions aren’t limited to the tech meetings.  He writes:

Meetings here this week include: “From data to decisions: How are new approaches to data intelligence transforming decision-making?” “Data deluge and citizen science.” “Incidents from digital crime to massive incidents of data theft are increasing significantly, with major political, social and economic implications.” “How is big data being used to uncover individual and collective human dynamics?”

Bilton also points out, however, that where big data is being discussed, privacy can’t be far behind, which is why Google’s Tuesday announcement about the change in its privacy policy and use of personal information couldn’t have been more timely.

Is it just me, or is Google purposely taunting the U.S. Department of Justice?

In the Google Blog, Alma Whitten, Google’s director of privacy, product and engineer, explained the change:

The main change is for users with Google Accounts. Our new Privacy Policy makes clear that, if you’re signed in, we may combine information you’ve provided from one service with information from other services. In short, we’ll treat you as a single user across all our products, which will mean a simpler, more intuitive Google experience.

Our recently launched personal search feature is a good example of the cool things Google can do when we combine information across products. Our search box now gives you great answers not just from the web, but your personal stuff too. So if I search for restaurants in Munich, I might see Google+ posts or photos that people have shared with me, or that are in my albums. Today we can also do things like make it easy for you to read a memo from Google Docs right in your Gmail, or add someone from your Gmail contacts to a meeting in Google Calendar.

Great, so let me make sure I got this straight: Google’s gonna collapse 60+ privacy policy statements into one, collapse all these different services I signed up into a single service, and that way, all the stuff I look at can be more uniformly monitored and targeted against so that Google can sell more ads and change the terms of our service agreement several years after the fact!??

Rock on!  I’m glad the Google Borg has my best interests in mind.

Can you hear the clarion charge of the Google “Do No Evil” Light Brigade?

Of course, back across the pond in Davos, things don’t appear to be so cut and dry.

Bilton also spoke with Viviane Reding, the European justice commission, who presented in Brussels yesterday new regulations that would implement “one sweeping data protection regulation that would apply to all of Europe.”

Bilton explains:  “The new regulations are part of the discussion at Davos as these new rules would drastically affect the way companies operate and collect data. For example, one component of this legislation will require companies to communicate to users why they are collecting this data and how long it is being stored on company servers.”

That, of course, would include companies from around the globe, including the Goog.

At IBM, our focus has been less on simply gathering more data, and instead helping our customers learn how to do more with the data they already have, even as they prepare for the inevitable onslaught of gathering more.

This would be an opportune time to hand you over to the IBM Big Data web site, where you can find videos and other assets about how IBM customers are capitalizing on the opportunity and challenges of big data.

Written by turbotodd

January 26, 2012 at 2:57 pm

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