Data, The New Oil of the 21st Century: The Big Data at Stake

After seeing the challenge of gathering data, we are going to see the actual evolution of data gathering: the Big Data. We have seen in my previous article why companies collect and use our personal data. But now the landscape has changed a lot in a material way, data are collected in big scale. But in big data, the main difference lays into the fact that datas are anonymous, they can’t put your name on the data but it’s always your data. That’s the difference between data and personal data.

Today, companies are experiencing an important switch in their mission as data gathering is gaining so much importance to remain competitive on the market, finding the best algorithm to collect data that will define the user in order to customize the customer’s experience on the web. Big data indicates all the data that become so important and raw information, in that sense standard information management tools make it difficult to collect and extract the essence of those data, database management is gaining power in this new business configuration.

Big data is a massive information gathering. However the info collected is of no use if not deciphered properly to come up with users’ shopping/searching patterns. The new stake today is to let the data talk. Create smart data, this is the new goal of the gathering. If data plays a big role in improving an organization’s performances, this will not be possible without our own active participation in the process. We purposely give out important data when we subscribe online, when we like a Facebook page but also by simply surfing on the web: (i.e. Google user’s experience, analyzing your location, your habits). If you add to this all the other data, the Internet knows more about you than yourself!


The personal data gathering masterchiefs are among those following big four: Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon. In a different way they are the best at collecting, interpreting and using the big data. They defend tooth and nail their territories. “They start from different models but are all in strong competition for the same thing: to gather and keep the individuals who penetrate in their orbit”. The concept of gracious service is in the Google and Facebook’s business model target, in order to collect large amount of personal and varied data. All that is typed, sought, posted, interest them, to be aggregated and recut. Google is definitely the best in that area.

Can we take control back of our data?

personal data                                      

To take the control back, we need to focus on how companies collect our data and personal data. We need to learn about the process and the reality of what data mean. Every single person must learn what personal data is and its value. Several organizations’ sites propose solutions to understand and increase safety on the Internet. Several administrations help people to decode good manners and to adopt them in order to radically change our habits and the way we share information. More and more States adopt laws to compel the companies to have a healthy data gathering policy. The European Union works to offer new rights to their citizens thought the future European Data Protection Regulation.

Some people think that the solution would come from a personal cloud installed at home. This is a solution, but it will require a personal monetary investment, as well as some computing skill. But it could be a good solution if you want to know where your files and data are. But this is definitely not enough; you are the only one who can protect correctly your own data only if you are aware and conscientious, on how and what you purposely share.

And the ultimate solution, if you really don’t want to exist on the web, the only way is to switch the power off!



Célie Zamora,

étudiante en Master 2 Droit de l’économie numérique à l’Université de Strasbourg.

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