Data privacy and the 'economy of queasy trust'

This week, Searchlight focuses on data privacy issues including privacy expectations, Google's ironic stance on 'big data' and more.

Please mind what you say in the comments this week; you never know who's watching. Welcome to the all-data-privacy edition of Searchlight. Thanks to NSA traitor/patriot Edward Snowden, stories about leaked secrets saturated the Web this week. Not that you'll hear any complaints here. As both Snowden and President Obama have said, this needs to be talked about. (But if that's true, then why -- oh, never mind.)

Karen GoulartKaren Goulart

Questions need to be asked of and answered by the powers that be. But we also need to ask some questions of ourselves. This week's lead item does that by looking at why we're comfortable with what we're comfortable sharing, and why data privacy takes on different levels of importance depending on who is peering through the keyhole. National Public Radio reporter Linda Holmes calls it an "economy of queasy trust." If you're on the corporate side of this relationship, bully for you. You're winning the Team Corporations vs. Team Government popularity contest at the moment.

But then even that gets muddied when man-of-the-hour Snowden enters the picture. Poll results included in The Informers, this week's Time magazine cover story (and the numbers are similar elsewhere), show a majority of Americans believe Snowden should be prosecuted. That's the guy whose espoused motive was to expose the reality of what Team Government was up to -- the side folks are typically more wary of! It's vastly complicated stuff, twisting together political, ideological, ethical and even technological questions. There will be no easy answers, so let's just keep talking.

Check out SearchCIO's own coverage of these topics

Is big data at odds with personal data privacy?

Sobering stats about online privacy and data security

Big data and our number-crunching nation

Also in this week's Searchlight, additional items on the Snowden case, Google's fear of big data, some hacking we can all get behind, and more.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Karen Goulart, features writer.

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