Gartner Research

Privacy and Ethical Concerns Can Make Big Data Analytics a Big Risk Too

Published: 05 March 2013

ID: G00249134

Analyst(s): Jay Heiser , Frank Buytendijk


There is a delicate balance between the benefits that big data analytics bring, and the ethical and privacy risks they pose. Information leaders should initiate an internal debate on the limitations of big data analytics and guidelines to avoid public embarrassment, mistrust and liability.

Table Of Contents
  • Key Challenges



  • Real Concerns
    • Risk 1: Anonymization and Data Masking Could be Impossible
    • Risk 2: Protecting People From Themselves
    • Risk 3: It's Easy to Mistake Patterns for Reality
    • Risk 4: The Data Becomes Reality Itself
    • Risk 5: Don't Worry About Bad People; Worry About the Ignorant Ones
  • Initiate Debate by Posing Ethical Dilemmas
    • Google Street View
    • Target Supermarkets
    • TomTom
  • Ethical Guidelines to Structure the Debate
    • Structure the Debate
    • Develop a Code of Conduct
    • Implement the Guidelines in Your Information Infrastructure
    • Keep Communicating the Code of Conduct

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