Last November saw Google announce the findings of its bi-annual Transparency Report. Interestingly, the findings revealed that government surveillance of online lives is on a sharp incline. In fact, governments around the world made nearly 21,000 requests for access to Google data in the first six months of 2012, a huge leap from the 12,539 requests reported in 2009. The US government was the biggest culprit, making 7,969 requests in the first six months of 2012, while Turkey made the most requests for content to be removed.
Despite the big numbers, this demand for data should come as no surprise. Information is increasingly being accepted as the currency of today, so it fits that demand for Google data would be so high. Data is an undeniably invaluable asset and both the private and the public sector are realising this.
There’s been much talk of late about the potential that big data holds for the public sector. In fact, in the UK, Conservative think tank Policy Exchange has gone as far as to claim that the public sector could cut costs by £33bn through wider and better use of big data analytics. We know that the real value from big data comes because of the nature of combining disparate data sources in order to help establish an accurate, consistent, and comprehensive understanding of what it really means and how it can be used.
However, as the pressure increases to get smarter about how big data is collected and analysed, it is also imperative that organisations ensure that they are being equally smart about how the data they collect and store is adequately protected. The tools are out there, so there’s no excuse to leave data vulnerable to a breach. It will certainly be interesting to see how governments worldwide equip themselves to avoid damaging data breaches, and in doing so maintain the trust of their citizens. What are you doing to avoid the data security pitfalls, while making the most of big data?