Rebecca Tomas


As humans we collect information about our world and we collect data. This data is called evidence, the more evidence we collect the more questions we ask. It is a cycle. A major factor of this cycle is Social media, which is contributing to big data. We are constantly glued to our phones and technological devices. Tweeting, updating our Facebook page and uploading a Instagram photo to show followers that we have a life. Therefore social media is contributing to the flood of big data. It is everywhere and it is the number one priority of businesses according to Kirk Borne. It is the highest level of conversation of the Government. From this setting, big data acts as a form of revenue and discovery.

In the early 1980’s to now 2015, many changes have occurred with both the cost of storage data and also the risk of how much data people will see and be able to access. In 1980 the cost of storage for 1GB was $300 thousand. Today? It is free with websites such as BOX, GoogleDrive & iCloud offering anywhere from 5GB-50GB for free. This may be convenient and cheap for many people, however it also poses a increased risk in available data and how easy it is to access. For example mines its customers purchase logs to recommend books to you “People who bought this book also bought this one”. This is also similar to Youtube and Netflix offering users recommendations based on what other users and customers have watched and rented.

In December 2009, Google made changes with their search engine in which it would be personalised according to signals, location, machine, history and what you browse. Yet the privacy policy of google did state that by signing in you allow it to collect information about you— including whatever you give them. Such as name, address, phone number and maybe even a credit card number. This works as a trade off as the user benefits from googles services and google collects information about users and their data. As usual people were alarmed by this matter (yet who even really ever reads the terms and conditions of websites? exactly) It was said that the search engine was recognising your browser and not you.  As surveillance technologies do not monitor people but operate through processes.

However some others may disagree and feel as though they are being tracked online/. An investigation was done by The Wall Street Journal investigating into Staples which is similar to Officeworks here in Australia. Which looked into two users Kim Wamble and Trude Frizzell – the website seemed to show two different prices on an item based on where the website seemed to think they were located. No matter what privacy settings we try to change, either way it is now a matter of life that our information is all being stored and collected.


TEDx Talks 2013, ‘Big Data, Small World: Kirk Borne at TEDxGeorgeMasonU,’ YouTube, viewed 19 August 2015, < >.

Lazer, D., Kennedy, R., King, G. & Vespignani, A. 2014, ‘The Parable of Google Flu: Traps in Big Data Analysis,’ Science Mag, vol. 343, pp. 1203–1205.

Baetens, J. 2014, ‘“Raw Data” Is an Oxymoron edited by Lisa Gitelman. The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, U.S.A., 2013. 208 pp., illus. Paper. ISBN: 9780262518284’, Leonardo, vol. 47, no. 3, pp. 303–304.

Carpentier, M. 2013, ‘What Your Search History Says About You (And How to Shut It Up),’ Huffington Post, 31 December, viewed 19 August 2015, <;.

Valentino-DeVries, J., Soltani, A. & Singer-Vine, J. 2012, ‘Websites Vary Prices, Deals Based on Users’ Information,’ The Wall Street Journal, 24 December, viewed 19 August 2015, <;.

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