Achtervolgd door data

Maciej Ceglowski, oprichter van onder meer Pinboard, mocht in 2015 de keynote geven van de big data conferentie Strata + Hadoop. Hij trok er een boeiende parallel tussen de nucleaire industrie en de industrie van big data. Je kan zijn keynote hieronder herbekijken en op zijn blog herlezen.

Zijn slotwoorden laten in ieder geval aan duidelijkheid niets te wensen over.

Don’t collect it!

If you can get away with it, just don’t collect it! Just like you don’t worry about getting mugged if you don’t have any money, your problems with data disappear if you stop collecting it. Switch from the hoarder’s mentality of ‘keep everything in case it comes in handy’ to a minimalist approach of collecting only what you need. Your marketing team will love you. They can go tell your users you care about privacy!

If you have to collect it, don’t store it!

Instead of stocks and data mining, think in terms of sampling and flows. “Sampling and flows” even sounds cooler. It sounds like hip-hop! You can get a lot of mileage out of ephemeral data. There’s an added benefit that people will be willing to share things with you they wouldn’t otherwise share, as long as they can believe you won’t store it. All kinds of interesting applications come into play.

If you have to store it, don’t keep it!

Certainly don’t keep it forever. Don’t sell it to Acxiom! Don’t put it in Amazon glacier and forget it. I believe there should be a law that limits behavioral data collection to 90 days, not because I want to ruin Christmas for your children, but because I think it will give us all better data while clawing back some semblance of privacy.

Finally, don’t be surprised. The current model of total surveillance and permanent storage is not tenable. If we keep it up, we’ll have our own version of Three Mile Island, some widely-publicized failure that galvanizes popular opinion against the technology. At that point people who are angry, mistrustful, and may not understand a thing about computers will regulate your industry into the ground.

Maar zoals al gezegd, zijn hele keynote is zeker de moeite van het luisteren en lezen waard.