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How much of your data should you own?

August 8, 2013

If you use a store app, the store can know the path you took through the store. If you use a fast-food joints wifi, the restaurant can know the sites you visited.

English: Frozen durian fruit in a grocery stor...

English: Frozen durian fruit in a grocery store in Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Google already does this, knows the sites you visit. The searched you do. It offers it up to you, for free at

Apps and websites have value, but they come at a cost. The best way to think about them is this: is the product is free, you’re the product.

If that store app helps you find the socks on sale, then who cares if the store tracks how you walk through the store?

That’s worth a debate. It is worth thinking about the cost, be it privacy or security, in using an app. Also worth debating is who owns the data?

If a store has my trips to it, and the things I bought, can I get that data? Can my grocery store purchases, looked at over a year, inform me of patterns?

Google gives me my web browsing history. Google also sends me a monthly report on my e-mail, and the number of meetings I had that month (broken up by started by me, or not started by me.)

We live in a world of big data. In that world, marketers are using the data to sell us stuff. What we’re not talking about is how that data could inform us.

Your turn. How could big data help you?

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