Big data on big Data

Big data is a term that is used to describe the large volume of digital data that is created daily. Growing exponentially, it is estimated that we create on a daily basis at least 2.5 quintillion bytes of data, of which 90% has been created globally in the last two years. In 2015 according to IDC the estimated value of the big data market was $59bn and by 2019 it’s expected to roughly double to $102 billion. Companies are able to process, transmit and store more data than ever before and are understanding the valuable insights it can provide.



Where is your data exposed?

Over the last decade, we have voluntarily surrendered various aspects of our online privacy /data to use social and digital media technology, or even to get a free latte! Every minute of the day:

·         Facebook users share over 2 million pieces of content.

·         YouTube users upload 72 hours of new video

·         48 thousand apps are downloaded on Apple

·         277 thousand ‘tweets’ are made on Twitter


However, times are changing as we become more conscious about the data we give away. Here are five useful examples highlighting where data privacy may be compromised.



Most smartphones have inbuilt GPS technology that help you navigate and pinpoint your location when using Apple’s map or mapping apps such as Google Maps. This data tracks your whereabouts and is hidden within your iPhone’s iOS location settings. This location history shows all your movements detailing when, how often and the duration of your visit, such as where you live and work. On an archived post, dated back to the iOS 7 Apple states that “the data is kept solely on your device and won't be sent to Apple without your consent. It will be used to provide you with personalized services, such as predictive traffic routing”. However, if you prefer not to have your locations logged, you can disable this function in: Settings / privacy / location services / system services / frequent locations.


2.Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp

When Facebook launched its Messenger App, users were forced to download it in order to continue to be able to send and receive messages. This raised particular permission and privacy fears regarding the following access required on Android devices:

·         Camera

·         Microphone

·         Contacts

·         Location

·         WiFi information

·         Calendar

These permissions are the same or very similar to most other messaging apps, including WhatsApp, Snapchat and Instagram that collect and analyse the user’s data for advertising purposes.

With more than 1 billion users and world-leading encryption, WhatsApp is seen as the preferred app for truly private chat conversations. However recent announced changes will allow it to co-ordinate and share user data with parent company Facebook. Users can decide to opt-out of the changes, though some time restrictions apply.



Social (business) networks and media channels contain a lucrative source of data for employers to find out about potential applicants and not having a LinkedIn profile could have a detrimental effect on your chance of even securing an interview. Recruitment Companies generally pay for the premium service that allows them to surf LinkedIn profiles anonymously and add relevant notes by way of a separate dossier to your profile. Therefore, it is prudent to regularly check your account and privacy settings to ensure you are happy with the level of information displayed and that it’s kept up to date.



Google receives over 4 million search queries per minute. It saves every search you have ever made and stores a record of every ad you have clicked on, using this data to build a profile about you. If you’re an Android user, your mobile device may be sending your location to Google. However, you can choose to review and control this information:   Furthermore, if you prefer not to have your data collected and shown on the Google analytics tool, you are able to opt out: Yet it isn’t just Google that has access to your data, as an Android user, third party apps and extensions will also be able to read your Google data. You can review your security permissions here:


5.Blogging Websites

When entering the realm of Blogging, your blog can be a potential target and so can your reputation and finances. The new currency of the ‘digital revolution’ is data. Each ‘click’ you make online is gathered, analysed and can be sold to third party advertisers without your consent, leaving you vulnerable to telemarketing calls, spam and junk emails. If your personal data is susceptible to being hacked, your finances could also be at risk. Therefore, it is recommended that you use strong, unique passwords for every site you’re registered on and make sure you change them regularly.


New Era

“The digital revolution is the new industrial revolution”. The exponential growth of the digital age has highlighted severe deficiencies with the protection of personal information and data. Therefore, it is imperative to keep your software up to date, regularly run an anti-malware program and ensure you regularly backup your data, this will help reduce your risk of security threats but also hardware failures. Remember once online always online, so watch what you share on social media. Most importantly think before you click especially with email links and attachments.


However, the next decade will see the momentum turning, with privacy going hand in hand with better non-tracking communication technology such as ZeroNet, MeWe, 23snaps and UmeNow. Additionally, with the recent launch of the world’s first quantum communication satellite known as the Quantum Science Satellite (QUESS) users may gain back control on how their data is transmitted knowing that their messages are secure by way of quantum cryptography and cannot be hacked.



Natasha Evans