Data set treasure troves

This topic was created by Chris Mellor 1 .

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Data set treasure troves

Could a social media site amass such a vast amount of data about huge numbers of people that it becomes a seller (indirect maybe) of access to its data for data mining purposes and turns into an effective monopoly? (See this post: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jonbruner/2012/04/12/will-data-monopolies-paralyze-the-internet/)

Might we see a Google or a Facebook or an Amazon getting so much data about its users that they know more than national governments do about them? If I socially live in Facebook wherever I am geographically what does that mean in terms of my citizenship?

Could net citizenship grow to be of the same class as national citizenship? Is it remotely conceivable that Facebook or Google could evolve into entities more powerful or more influential than some nation states? Maybe they have already.

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Chris,

It's a very interesting point but I think there are at least three reasons why this might not happen:

1. in the socialsphere you can be who you like; how could the government prove that the online person is indeed you? Even when it comes to camera footage from CCTV systems (at least here in the UK), such 'proof' is only treated as a likeness of a person, it is not admitted as proof that whoever is in the recording is indeed someone specific

2. people choose what to disclose on Facebook, Google+ etc. so the info posted there by someone and/or their contacts/acquaintances is not necessarily a balanced portrait of a person

3. I don't know anyone who would voluntarily disclose in the socialsphere the information the (UK) government currently demands of its residents/citizens (I know having been a UK former for 20 years and the latter for just under one) just because it's private and confidential.

So while the power that some websites might end up having in terms of how much they know about people could make an interesting Tinseltown movie, I'm not sure the Information Commissioner’s Office is going to turn to Facebook, Amazon or Google for information anytime soon.

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