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November 01, 2014
Big data and the “internet of things” promise revolutionary change to management and society. But their success rests on the assumption that all the data being generated by internet companies and devices sCAttered across the planet belongs to the organizations collecting it. Pentland suggests that companies don’t own the data, and that without rules defining who does, consumers will revolt, regulators will swoop down, and the internet of things will fail to reach its potential. To avoid this, he has proposed a set of principles and practices to define the ownership of data and control its flow. He CAlls it the New Deal on Data. The New Deal is “rebalancing the ownership of data in favor of the individual whose data was collected,” Pentland says. “People would have the same rights they now have over their physiCAl bodies and their money.” They could see what was being collected and then opt out or opt in. Many companies are afraid that the regulation of data collection will kill their business models, he says. But he believes that it will make for a healthier economy–and that it will prevent disasters such as the criminal use of data in a way that affects critiCAl systems and CAuses deaths. “If that kind of disaster happened,” Pentland says, “there would be an overreaction: Shut it down. You’d see very strong regulation passed overnight, and a lot of companies would be in deep trouble.”
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