Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted during a recent Congressional hearing that apart from offering third parties the data of registered users, the social media network also collects the data of unregistered users. The same thing is happening in China to those who download apps onto their smartphones. After searching for certain products online, the users are bombarded with relevant ads.
With a new round of industrial revolution led by intelligent manufacturing and artificial intelligence around the world, the era of big data has arrived.
On the one hand, data privacy is a basic human right. Without consent, personal data cannot be shared for any reason, especially not for profit purposes. On the other, data sharing on the Internet can help ramp up overall social well-being.
Industrial and public data could also be compromised. Today, more companies are using cloud computing to keep their business information confidential. However, if industrial information can be shared among related companies, the overall performance of the industry can be improved.
The question is how to draw a line between data privacy and sharing. The key lies in effective regulations. For data, no borders exist. Viable international standards for data collection, storage, transfer and application are necessary.
Just as a coin has two sides, so does big data technology. New industries tend to grow wildly in their initial stages, but it should not be abandoned just because it has shortcomings. Regulations are not meant to curb technological progress but to ensure its sound development.
(This is an edited excerpt of an article published in People's Daily on April 23)