Big Data: 5 ways data is misused

Big Data can be very useful and beneficial, but can also be used maliciously. Profiling, discrimination, cyber attacks, manipulation… discover the dark side of data analysis.

A coin always has two sides. While Big Data can be very beneficial, it can also be very dangerous. It really depends on how the data is collected and used. At a time when web services, mobile applications and connected objects are taking up more and more space in our daily lives, it is important to be aware of this. This is 5 Ways Big Data is Misused.

Big Data and immoral profiling

immoral profiling

Profiling is undoubtedly the most widespread use of Big Data. Many companies collect data about their customers, and use algorithms to sort this information. in order to create user categories. In particular, this makes it possible to create better targeted marketing campaigns.

However, Internet users rarely realize that every action they take on the web is used for profiling. In some cases, this technology is used for highly morally questionable purposes. For example, it is possible to create lists containing the names and addresses of people who have been profiled. contact information of victims of domestic violence or have a specific disease. These lists can then be sold to interested companies without the consent of the persons concerned. However, the latter do not necessarily want a company to get involved in these very personal matters.

Big Data and discrimination


Big Data can be a source of discrimination. For example, a Google study has shown that men and women are not offered the same advertisements for jobs. The men are thus more exposed to advertisements for better-paid jobs..

Similarly, the way the Chicago Police Department uses Big Data feeds racist bias, separating citizens into social classes in order to prioritize surveillance of people of colour. Another example is China, which now uses Big Data to assess its citizens. People with low scores are no longer allowed to travel…

Big Data and Fatal Errors


Big Data is not infallible. Algorithms can be wrong. For example, you have probably already been recommended a product that does not interest you at all, because of an internet search in a particular context.

However, this margin of error can have far more serious consequences. For example, Australian citizens have found themselves with false debts because of a malfunctioning automated system, while of Americans have had their welfare benefits cut for the wrong reasons. Relying entirely on technology is not always a good idea .

Big Data and Cyber Attacks

cyber attack

The data collected by companies is stored in Data Centers. Gold, these servers may be subject to computer attacks aimed at stealing data.

Thus, cybercriminals can get hold of personal information thousands, even millions of people: identity, contact information, address, bank details… the criminals can then blackmail or even steal money from the victims.

Big Data and manipulation


Big Data can also be used to manipulate mass. The famous “fake news” propagated on social networks in order to influence public opinion are, for example, very often generated from data collected by their authors. It is a new form of data-driven propaganda .

Likewise, Facebook recently found itself in the heart of a worldwide scandal following the Cambridge Analytica affair. The company collected data from 37 million social network users to send them personalized messages to encourage them to vote for Donald Trump in 2016.

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