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5 Ways To Keep Big Data From Going Bad

Big data has potential societal benefits, but, left unchecked, the information could be used for nefarious purposes.

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Big Data Benefits Don't Come Risk-Free

While the collection and analysis of troves of data offer potential societal benefits, the public needs to understand the risks it poses on individual privacy and security, said Barton Gellman, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winning author and reporter who is one of three journalists still reviewing National Security Agency documents leaked by Edward Snowden. Gellman and American linguist, philosopher and activist Noam Chomsky spoke about how information can be used to inform and as a tactic to control the public.They were panelists at Engaging Data 2013, a program exploring the benefits and risks of big data projects.

Both men said that shedding light on big data practices will help foster a dialogue about the extent to which big data projects and surveillance become overreaching. The daylong event, sponsored by Senseable City Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, followed with a discussion about what can be done to protect sensitive data and restrain the breadth of surveillance activities fostered by the increased use of technology.

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