Data privacy issues can’t be overlooked

Businesses in all sectors are finding more uses for their big data on what can seem like an everyday basis. For example, in a recent blog post by Forrester Research, many of the world's biggest brands, ranging from BMW and John Deere to the Starwood network of hotels, are pursuing initiatives allowing them to essentially sell data to their customers or clients to help bolster their users' experiences, in a variety of ways. 

As data becomes even more of a commodity in and of itself, certain concerns are bound to rise to the fore that may not have previously been present or common. In this instance, privacy is an issue that has to be meaningfully addressed. Companies with plans to enact operations dependent on the sharing or distribution of data and analytics pertaining to their customers need to ensure that this information is as safe as it needs to be. It will be better for business in the long run to do so.

Concerns regarding companies' data collection
The issue of collecting data from individuals has always been a contentious one, whether by government agencies (as in the U.S. National Security Agency programs revealed by fugitive whistle-blower Edward Snowden) or private companies.

According to IDG News Service, the International CES tech industry expo in Las Vegas featured a number of new and forthcoming products that made significant use of customer data. These included the Samsung Smart Home server, which allows users to control home appliances via a smartphone or tablet application, as well as a cooking pot designed by Belkin that can be remotely operated through similar means.

Penny Pritzker, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, attended the expo and spoke about the concerns and problems that these and other products could potentially create.

"I think we need to … have a real look at the issue of privacy and where you draw the lines and what are the rules," Pritzker said to the news source. "I don't think there is consistency or clarity right now … in terms of what companies are collecting and what they can do with that data. You say to yourself, 'Do I want everybody to know that? Do I want that [information] freely recordable somewhere else [where] I don't know what is going to happen to it? I think it raises, for a lot of people, questions, and I think we need to have a conversation about it and I think that needs to be sorted out."

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