Big data holds many benefits for organizations, such as better insights, competitive advantages, and the power of the Internet of Things. Big data offers countless opportunities however, it also comes with serious risks and dangers if it is stored or used incorrectly. There are a few main categories:
Security and privacy Issues
Companies face challenges in keeping their databases safe. Along with the growth of an organization and its data, storing data safely is difficult and expensive. There are a lot of incidents nowadays related to big data security. In the first half of 2019, 4.1 billion records were exposed through data breaches in the Risk-Based Mid-Year Data Breach Report. This instance has not only shown the importance of protecting against security breaches but also the legitimate difficulty of keeping the data safe. Even though organizations are obligated to adhere to data protection laws, high-profile data breaches over the past few years indicate that greater security needs to be in place.
Even if organizations manage to keep our data safe, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will never misuse it themselves. There is still some gray area amongst how companies can use data, even with data protection laws. It wasn’t until 2009 that a man’s credit limit was cut for failing to repay a debt to another customer who shopped in the same store as him, even before big data became so prevalent. Big data use has clear ethical implications, but this is just one small example. In the US, 78% of adults say they understand very little or nothing about what the government does with their personal information.
Source: Pew Research Center
Inappropriate use of data by third parties
Big data is produced on a global scale every day. In 202, it was stated that we are estimated to produce around 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day. Hackers and cyber attackers can easily target this data and sell it on the DarkNet. The number of phishing attempts, scams, and fraud in the world is increasing every day, which proves that criminal groups can misuse big data to their advantage. Other than that, fake news and misleading information can be made to influence the public about an idea, beliefs, or even who we vote for. This attacker preys on people’s emotions to lead them to act the way they want. It remains a challenge to solve this issue due to the growing risks of data theft.
We continue to struggle with the potential dangers of big data. It goes a long way towards resolving its potential risks, however, if you identify and acknowledge their existence. We all need to play a part in promoting a culture of integrity within data science. Big Data is only dangerous if we allow it to be.