Via the Twitters I came across this absolutely brilliant video of Bruce Schneier talking about data privacy (that’s the American for Data Protection). Bruce makes some great points.
One of the key points that overlaps between Data Protection and Information Quality is where he tells us that
Data is the pollution problem of the Information Age. Â It stays around, it has to dealt with and its secondary uses are what concerns us. Just as… … we look back at the the beginning of the previous century and sort of marvel at how the titans of industry in the rush to build the industrial age would ignore pollution, I think… … we will be judged by our grandchildren and great-grandchildren by how well we dealt with data, with individuals and their relationships to their data, in the information society.
This echoes the Peter Drucker comment that I reference constantly in talks and with clients of my company where Drucker said that
So far, for 50 years, the information revolution has centered on dataâ€”their collection, storage, transmission, analysis, and presentation. It has centered on the “T” in IT. Â The next information revolution asks, what is the MEANING of information, and what is its PURPOSE?
Bruce raises a number of other great points, such as how as a species we haven’t adapted to what is technically possible and the complexity of control is the challenge for the individual, with younger people having to make increasingly complex and informed decisions about their privacy and what data they put where and why (back to meaning and purpose).
I really like his points on the legal economics of Information and Data. In college I really enjoyed my “Economics of Law” courses and I tend to look at legalistic problems through an economic prism (after all, the law is just another balancing mechanism for human conduct). I like them so much I’m going to park my thoughts on them for another post.
But, to return to Bruce’s point that Data is the pollution problem of the Information age, I believe that that statement is horribly true whether we consider data privacy/protection or Information Quality. How much of the crud data that clutters up organisations and sucks resources away from the bottom line is essentially the toxic slag of inefficient and “environmentally unfriendly” processes and business models? How much of that toxic waste is being buried and ignored rather than cleaned up or disposed of with care?
Is Information Quality Management a “Green” industry flying under a different flag?
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