Personal Data the New Gold Mine

Feb 03, 2014

The ICT industry has already taken the direction of Big Data, Data Analytics or Data Mining. Personal data is at the heart of a new promising land. You have probably already heard the phrase that “If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product“. Your personal data is the new golden nugget for many firms, and you are probably not aware of the extent to which your data is used.

But let’s imagine that you agree to share your data with these companies, or at least that you know that when you are using freeware or a free website, your data will be used in the future.

Furthermore, you imagine that your personal information is stored in a safe place, enciphered and protected from hackers’ eyes. Unfortunately, your expectations are far from reality. Orange S.A. , the French multinational telecommunication corporation revealed today that the personal data of 800,000 users (around 3% of their client base) has been stolen. No passwords or sensitive information were stolen, only name and address. But this story arrives in a negative period. Indeed, in the US, a similar situation appeared with the data breaches of Target and Neiman Marcus. In these cases, it was personal bank card details that were stolen, which is much more sensitive. However, the result is the same in terms of security perception.

As a consumer, a natural question will come to my mind: “Can I store my personal data in a safe place?” At the moment the industry is not offering a positive answer.

I won’t come back to the NSA’s PRISM program, which generated an unenthusiastic response regarding Internet security. Most businesses are based on “trust”, and unfortunately the ICT industry is not taking the good direction in this regard. Why data are not, as a minimum, ciphered during data exchange (as for Target data breach) or during data storage (as for Orange data breach). It seems that basic security rules are not in place, while major ICT players are arguing that they want to become a safe place for your data. As a golden nugget, security protection must apply to personal data.

Category : Big Data, Consumer

Jean-Noel Georges


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