“Big data creates mixed feelings in many people. The economic opportunities are obvious. But the possibilities of abuse are also obvious(computer week)”. Surely big data is more than just hype and brings with it numerous new opportunities. However, there are also many risks that are addressed in this article.

Reading Tip: What is Big Data

Big Data Risks: Monitoring

An example can be found during Computerwoche in the search for an offender on the motorway: “The investigators had installed cameras on seven relevant sections of the motorway. They read the license plates of all passing cars, including those of the vehicles that were shot at. In April 2013, police were again notified of shots fired at lorries within five days, a total of six.”

Of course, this mass storage of data allows for high level of monitoring. As ComputerWoche concludes: “The analysis of mass data has an ambivalent character. It has the skin gout of the surveillance state, snooping companies and authorities. ”

An example can also be the storage of numerous data by wearables by the health insurance companies. The health of the individual becomes glassy and it can be understood how often one does sports and moves. So it creates a lasting sense of surveillance.

Risks of Big Data: Sensitive Data Needs Special Protection

“The handling of large amounts of data, especially data on internal relationships, poses technical challenges for companies and IT departments. The balance between accessibility and security must be precisely balanced. ” this can be found in the BigDatablog. Sensitive data must therefore also be particularly secured. Not only from abuse, but also from manipulation.

Risks of Big Data: Manipulation

Another risk of big data is manipulative use. Example whites can be used by big data abuse and influence voters, as in elections, among other things. It is therefore a question of the sensible and ethical use of the large amount of data.

For example, the magazine Propagandaschauwarns: “Critical contemporaries have always warned, but only now is it slowly emerging – all the more powerfully – how data collections can be used and are already being used to manipulate people who have previously “thoughtfully” made their thoughts available to third parties.”

The magazine continues to believe that “the data today not primarily used to analyse political moods and then to make laws and policies in the sense of the citizens’ well-known opinions and interests, but to manipulate the sentiments and opinions raised with targeted measures in the interests of the elites.”

Risks of Big Data: Uselessness

A final risk is that large amounts of data are stored and certainly evaluated, but you also like to sit in front of it and think: Mhmmm? And what are we doing with it now? What does that tell us? When I was still on the road as an external consultant, I experienced this very often. We have evaluated and thought a lot of things, but have hardly come up with a meaningful idea of what this can mean now.

The Havard Business Manageralso warns: Ready and open for experimentation: “Managers and analysts must be able to apply scientific methods in their business area. You need to know what reasonable working hypotheses look like. They also need to understand the basics of experiments and their structure.

Conclusion: Big data but wisely!

In addition to the aforementioned risks, it is important to use big data sensibly. On the one hand, guidelines are certainly necessary to change abuse and manipulation and, on the other hand, to prevent further training in order to prevent uselessness. Because there must also be a data culture in the company.

In the end, the Havard Business Manager says that for big data to lead to more added value, great efforts are needed for further training. It is about promoting a data-oriented mindset and analytical culture in the company and introducing new technologies.

Tip: Book suggestions for big data

Of course, not everything is just a risk, and big data can offer numerous opportunities, such as sound forecasts for decisions and new products, as well as an individual approach to customers. So read my follow-up article next week.

Reading Tip: Opportunities of Big Data

Big Data Opportunities Risks
Opportunities and risks of big data (own presentation)
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I blog about the impact of digitalization on our working environment. For this purpose, I present content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday work. I am a manager in an SME myself and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the chair of IT Management.

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