Is big data becoming more and more like Big Brother?
Some privacy advocates think so.
Big data is another name for the Internet knowing what you see online, and it helps curate certain advertising and marketing ploys toward you.
And it can tell when you’re broke, according to CNN.
“Big Data knows when you've fallen on hard times,” CNN reported. “Whether you're deep in debt or a senior on a fixed income, data brokers can track and sell your information to payday lenders, debt consolidation firms and other marketers.”
This information is obtained pretty easily, as data brokers can find out what you’re applying for and what you’re spending your money on, CNN reported.
But not everyone is happy with big data gaining research on people’s personal lives.
Privacy advocates, like Ed Mierzwinski, the consumer program director at U.S. Public Interest Research Group, told CNN that people need more protection.
"We shouldn't use our most private information for just any marketing purpose," he said to CNN. "We need additional protections."
Big data may affect more than just everyday Americans. The Associated Press reported that big data can be harmful to those in poverty, too. The impoverished are targeted especially, which could impact even such things as the job market, the AP reported.
“Civil rights leaders, for example, raised in discussions with the White House the issue of employers who use data to map where job applicants live and then rate them based on that, particularly in low-paying service jobs.”
And on Sunday, Matt Petronzio of Mashable reported a story on a woman who hid her pregnancy from all big data brokers. Her name is Janet Vertesi, and she is an assistant professor of sociology at Princeton University, according to Mashable. She didn’t tell anyone on social media that she was pregnant, and she only used cash when she was buying stuff for her forthcoming child, Petronzio reported.1 comment on this story
"My story is about big data, but from the bottom up," she said to Mashable. "From a very personal perspective of what it takes to avoid being collected, being tracked and being placed into databases."
Vertesi is worried about the future of the Internet, especially when giving personal information.
Mashable reported that Vertesi’s advice was that “we need to be more aware of the information we give our servers voluntarily, and wondered if a time will ever come when we can opt out of giving personal information to the Internet.”