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Bigdata and Privacy

I believe we need to have new laws to deal with the accuracy of information being held about people and the duration that data can be held.   For instance, no company should need information about you for more than 3 years duration without your explicit permission, not permission in a 20 page “legal disclosure” but explicitly that you are okay with someone keeping data longer than that in a separate acknowledgement.  If you are under 21 it should be 1 year limit by law.   Any data kept after 3 years (1 year if under 21) must be kept in such a way that you can dispute it and find out who has such data by consulting a central registry.  Disputes of the data should be resolved to the benefit of the consumer unless the holder of such data wants to fight and prove the legitimacy of such data.

Every company I talk to is accumulating vast information about you and I. While I am a big fan and excited about using bigdata to provide better service, higher intelligence smarter services I am worried also that it is an invasion of privacy or even that improper or inaccurate data will cause people problems.  My company WSO2 is trying to build secure solutions and bigdata solutions to enable companies to be intelligent.  It is an awesome responsibility to have personal information about people.   It’s not just a legal responsibility but a personal responsibility societal responsibility to make sure that everyone is treated fairly by the systems we build.

As an Open Source company WSO2 has an obligation to promote transparency and responsible use of data.   We provide our source code to everything we do.  There are no “enterprise licenses.”  I believe our advocacy of open source is a statement also about transparency.   Please let me know if you think my personal ideas about privacy above are reasonable and sound.   I feel very passionate that while a new cyber world is being built that world shouldn’t be something we fear or are hurt by.   The goal of all this new technology is to make life better.  We must find a way to build this new world so that we and our children want to live in that world and that this new world is compassionate and fair.

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