Big Data Responsibilities – Shared Responsibilities of Corporate Opportunities and Regulatory Lag times

“We need to be mindful of data, which is the currency of today’s economy and tomorrow’s economy”, but are fraught with serious Privacy problems – FTC Warns

Question: I enjoy thinking about things like this as they relate to possibilities of the future. For example if Fedex is able to predict who is a criminal shipping drugs and inadvertently discover a way to predict or identify fake handbags or cheese, are they under obligation to report it? (by Amy Baker)

These are important ethical questions of using big data in the fringe areas where business opportunities, entrepreneurial spirits, and privacy of citizens, can become testy.

  • The key point is that big-data is changing the rules of entrepreneurial field of play, including enormous possibilities of AI.  AI is getting resurrected mainly because of big data, which had a stunted growth in the last 40 years.  Not it is ready to flourish.
  • It is a fair assessment that the push and pull of corporate responsibility and aspirations vs. rules and regulations that are already in place to protect the consumers are driving such a call for shared responsibility.
  • Some times, the rules are not in place fully to the variations of situations, or even if there are, the state may take a easier look at implementation, because there are other “bigger fish to fry”, so to say regarding priorities and investment needs. But the value, diverse possibilities and impacts of big data is redefining the various trajectories of opportunities in our economy, health, social, …, and environment, leading to the quote, “We need to be mindful of data, which is the currency of today’s economy and tomorrow’s economy”.
  • One feels the enormity of opportunities that can easily over-step in privacy, partly because it is still in the early stages, and it is scary that ordinary citizens’ freedom is likely to be mangled in large volume.
  • FTC is aware, and I am sure, they are working on ways to build regulations so that it does NOT suppress the entrepreneurial spirit.
  • Coming to the question, I tend to think FedEx has a way to verify/predict/validate the content of a package. The severity of all packages are not the same and corporation has an obligation to report to the government, when the severity threshold is above acceptable level to safe guard the security of citizens. It is fair to hypothesize and it should not surprise that they have reported some severe events to the Government, for the safety and health of wider population.

Coming to the privacy aspect of the question, the internet/smartphone technologies are scary powerful tools, so much so that with a small switch in a computer program, one can influence/impact millions of people quickly in hours, having potential to cause huge damage to people possibly violating privacy principles that we value as freedom, and given that we are still in the early stages, FTC is asking for shared responsibility; my take is, partly because, FTC is also responsible for US competitiveness and freedom of corporations.

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