A conversation this week with Bruce Schneier (link below) that I heard this week, confirms my feeling that companies and institutions might in future store much less data about us than we suppose. The main reason is liability for losing it as well as the fact that much of it is fairly invasive but rather useless. For example, on my way to the office on a quiet suburban road, there is an stretch after an intersection which Google Maps tends to show as having moderate traffic. This is nonsense: it is merely a downhill bit where the single drivers they are tracking presumably slam on the brakes a bit. Google Maps is obviously inferring the "moderate traffic" by gathering the data of a single vehicle.
I believe that companies and institutions should store as much data as possible in hashed or encrypted form in order to reduce the potential liability arising from data breaches. If it's really necessary, they might want to consider offline storage!
A Reckoning for Big Data – http://www.cato.org/multimedia/daily-podcast/reckoning-big-data
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