You struggle to get around any board room meetings or conferences without the phrase “big data” being used like it is the panacea to all the woes businesses and the economy faces.
However, big data is equally relevant to governments, particularly, in light of Edward Snowden’s revelations.
I read a very interesting article a fortnight back on this very topic: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-03-03/china-tries-its-hand-at-pre-crime.
Essentially the Chinese government is looking to building a profiling tool that includes jobs, hobbies, consumption habits, along with details of any other unorthodox behaviour to detect potential/future subversive, criminal or terrorist behaviour.
What’s equally interesting from the article is that there has been, from Mao’s time, a secret file called the dangán, which has records about everyone, from details of their schools, personality assessments to health records, and can determine whether one gets that job promotion or government permit!
There is also a Chinese national network of surveillance cameras called Skynet!
The combination of this surveillance will allow for the Chinese government to analyse, interrogate and assess the data from her 1.2 billion citizens in order to detect future criminal, terrorist or subversive behaviour. However, the challenge that remains is how one can be prosecuted for ‘thoughtcrime’? At what point does the prosecution take place?
All in a very interesting legal and social conundrum!