Is 1984 Becoming a Reality for Data?

Gary Kovacs – “Privacy is not an option, and it shouldn’t be the price we accept for just getting on the Internet”

Decisions that mammoth-sized companies make are able to impact our everyday lives without need for our opinion.

The most exciting, yet troubling, part of this Big Data phenomenon is data governance. The amount of data we are producing, and the ways in which private organisations utilise it, seems to be progressing at a quicker rate than governments are able to create necessary laws to keep us protected.

A recent cause for concern is that data centres are set-up in cheap locations to allow better value cloud storage. Fantastic! But what if these locations are in a different country? Our data is then under a different set of laws and our data isn’t necessarily protected to the level that we would expect.

Surely we have the right to demand what happens to our data? We should be able to delete it if we want to, right?

Google’s ‘Right to be Forgotten’ was recently passed by the CJEU (May 2014) so that anyone is allowed to request Google to permanently delete search results of websites that house information about them that they feel is irrelevant, not trustworthy or harmful. There have already been over 90,000 requests. The BBC has provided the information you need here:

Now, Google has a screening process so that not every request is granted, however don’t you feel that all information is important? Is Google abusing their powers by systematically ‘deleting the past’? I’m sure George Orwell would have something to say about this.

Decisions that companies make are able to impact most of our everyday lives. As a citizen we have the power of the vote, as a consumer we seem to be powerless to change.

I would love to hear your opinions on the issues mentioned in this post. Feel free to leave a comment or tweet me on @AnalyticsChap (

3 thoughts on “Is 1984 Becoming a Reality for Data?

  1. None of us can really say we could not have seen this coming.

    See this book – written in 2011.

    The underlying question being posed in this article is how far will we let it go. I suspect that the answer will be a similar pattern to all technology led change that has preceded this one. i.e. The boundaries will be explored until society becomes uncomfortable, at that point the legislators start to act. We seem to be at the start of that stage now.

  2. Yeah, I agree. Big companies will take it too far and a social kick back will ultimately ensue. I have the feeling though that by the time we get uncomfortable, it will be too late to change the systems in place to extricate said data.

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