Security and Big Data

Some of my favorite songs I found by accident. I have an older iPod that luckily, to date, holds all my music. I shuffle the songs and I am off and away in my special music world. Music defines me. It can change my mood in an instant. Bring me to tears within seconds. Music is everything to me. If a song makes me think of you, you are pretty special in my eyes. “We have a song” is one of the nicest things I can say to you… in Banks language.
I am also a big fan of Pandora or Genius from Apple because it seems to go in a path that I may never have been before. It introduces me to new things. The music that I listen does not define me but it is me. I literally listen to everything. Of course these tools provide suggestions based on categories of music or music type but eventually my whole will be based on suggestions from companies. Oh you like this band, then you will like this cereal. Where am I going with this? As always I ask for your patience…
I love security and recently I have been obsessed with the capabilities of big data analytics. Love the idea of concepts being sent to me. For instance, I may shop a store frequently but I don’t walk down every aisle just looking. If I can walk in to a store and the phone lets me know new items that I may be interested in and where they are located, I like that. As a business, I feel that it is genius, and a must. As a consumer, I want it. I really do hate shopping and only buy things that catch my eye. I don’t dilly dally around the store. I want to go in, look quickly, make a decision and leave. As a security person, this scares me to death!


For any organization to have this much information on me and to create a profile around my likes and dislikes is almost unethical in my opinion. How could you possibly know me and my dislikes. I understand that you have created analytics around my purchasing habits and comparing them against other people with the same purchasing habits… but this doesn’t mean you know me or my next step. Creating this profile based on my purchasing habits is too risky and can only lead to further analytics (like music and cereal). Information such as what time I tend to go on my runs (based on my polar heart rate monitor), what time of the day I tend to wake and leave the house (based on my phone alarm and gps info), what time of day I get hungry can provide risky situations for me and those that maintain this information. Where will this information gathering lead and where will it go in the future and who is protecting it? Who is ensuring that it is getting into the right hands and who are the right hands? I feel like we need to get ahead this capability and as always when it comes to security, do it right from the beginning.
Can there be a happy medium? Can I be told what I like and not feel like my privacy is being invaded? Can I love big data and security … both… at the same time? Can I shuffle songs and maybe skip ones I don’t like? Ok… yes… as we speak Metric’s “Youth Without Youth” came on and I was stuck wanting to hear only female singers. I think both worlds can live in harmony but I like it is a very thin line between the two worlds and I promise the lines will blur in the future.

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