Data and Goliath

Here is a New York Times book review of ‘Data and Goliath’. I pulled a relevant quote from the article:

“In the corporate realm, Mr. Schneier promotes no less than a fundamental reshaping of the media and technology landscape. Companies with access to large amounts of personal data would be “automatically classified as fiduciaries” and subject to “special legal restrictions and protections. That these limits would render illegal most current business models — under which consumers exchange enhanced access by advertisers for free services – does not seem to bother Mr. Schneier: “If we succeed in raising the cost of surveillance and data collection, new businesses that don’t rely on it will rise up and take the place of the current ones that do.”

One wonders what the future of Facebook will be if the latter statement holds true. As a contrary argument, one might wonder if there is a societal benefit to Facebook’s ability to find insights on human behaviour that otherwise would not be possible on such a wide scale. While it is true that data analysis and technology have no moral imperative, it may also be true that mass data can be used for virtuous purposes if wielded in the proper way. Does the current business model of exchanging personal information to advertisers for free services necessarily diminish or negate such purposes? What alternative business models are possible?

You can read the entire article here:

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