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Information has always been a power, but the modern age has made it more lucrative than ever. Living in a digital age means that there is not much we do that goes unnoticed and unrecorded. No matter how trivial the exchange or activity, the footprint remains there. And there are a lot of people willing to pay good money, who would like to have access to that footprint. A browsing history of one or two individuals may not matter much, but when the same information is available for hundred thousand and million people, there is no limit to which companies and organization will do to gain control over it. By studying our patterns, interests and actions over digital networks, not only can businesses analyze their working via feedback, but can specifically target us with already existing products which will grab our attention. No doubt you have noticed this practice for years now. It started as simple as recommended products list you get on all trading platforms and has progressed as far as showing you ads of things you have been talking about on social platforms, in your private chat! This has to lead to some accusation, that social media not only uses your text-based messages but also listens to your through microphones on your phones and computers. With so many companies fighting for your attention and trying to access your information, it is no wonder that paranoia has settled in the minds of many weary users.
Big Data and Blockchain
Big Data is a term coined especially for our age of information. It refers exactly to that enormous amount of data that is being gathered and analyzed constantly in order to either gain an edge in business or for specific purposes of some scientific advance. The later is most often used for machine learning algorithms, the purpose of which range from self-driving card to creation of true A.I.
The problem with big data and in general with this tremendous amount of information is two fold. Firstly, from the standpoint of users, our privacy is being constantly invaded. We did not sign up to social media for businesses to gain our information. We create the content and subsequently the value of that media and being used as a resource to mine, can easily be seen as exploitative practice. Users don’t have sufficient control about who and for what purposes use their daily data and cannot effectively fight back against it. Secondly, from the standpoint of those who actually mine that data, the problem is the accuracy of it. With the ocean of information available for analysis, most of the time goes in deciding which information is actually authentic.
Blockchain technology holds the potential to solve both of those issues. By democratization and decentralization of data, users can get complete control over their privacy. By creating private and secure keys it effectively puts the private information of users into their hand. Any time this information will be requested for any purposes, the user will be notified and will decide to grant the access or not. They can also choose to sell their information to the highest bidder, providing authentic information to ones looking for it.