John Battelle, author of the book “The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture”, described Google as a “database of intentions”. In his article “On Small, Intimate Data” he goes even further. “Small” is also very “intimate”: “To me, small means limited, intimate, and actionable by individuals. [...] It’s intimate in that it’s data that matters a lot to each of us [...] And should we choose to share a small amount of intimate data with the cloud, it’s important that the cloud understand the nature of that data as distinct from its masses of Big Data.”
Interesting in this context is the evolution that information has experienced. In the Gartner report “Strategic Information Management for Competitive Advantage” analist Mark Raskino shows a simple timeline for the information era. It is striking that over time the data is becoming increasingly more personal and intimate. Information technology gets under our skin and on top of that we are even starting to code life.
Ofcourse there are also some side effects regarding the intimacy of data. In his article “How the digital blob feasts on our intimate data” Andrew Keen warns us: “There’s a trillion dollar virus that is spreading throughout Silicon Valley right now. It’s called social networking. This virus, a relentless kind of digital blob, feeds on our most intimate data. The bigger a social network becomes, the greedier it becomes for our data and the more it invades our lives, voraciously feeding off our friendships and destroying our privacy.”
Former European Commissioner for Consumer Protection Meglena Kuneva made the following remark in 2009: “Personal data is the new oil of the internet and the new currency of the digital world.” The question remains who is going to benefit from all this intimate and private data. Is it the individual or is it the business? Or maybe both?