Unless you had a terribly deprived childhood you went to the circus at some point. Being an animal lover, I was one of those kids who was amazed at how someone trained lions and tigers. My next favorite act was the high wire.
The performers not only crossed the arena on that tightrope with no net, risking a splat landing, they would bounce around, almost dancing. Then it got really impressive when stars like Karl Wallenda would cross with an associate or two balancing on his shoulders.
Despite my youthful theories that those performers cheated with something like magnetic shoes, the act was all about balance. As a kid I didn't realize the role that balance would play in all of our lives. Work/life balance. Balanced diet. Taoism if you're into that. And finding balance in personal relationships.
Now, with the emerging issues in data privacy, balance takes on new meaning, new importance.
This week's tech media news feed was packed with articles about big data: Some proclaimed the importance of big data analytics in fighting terrorism; others cited how criminals are using big data against their victims and how police must respond; big data was seen as a way to make insurance companies more effective (profitable); and big data was pitched as a source for medical miracles.
Each of those uses for big data raised privacy issues for all of us, the innocents as well as those who would do us harm.
I mentioned in a recent blog, A2 Academy: Privacy in the Spotlight, that data privacy is a relatively new concern when viewed in the big picture of history. Prior to 15 or 20 years ago we might have worried about our medical records falling off a cart, a sales clerk stealing the carbon copy of our credit card transaction, or, in the extreme, government officials tapping our home phone. We worried that credit agencies might get our data wrong, but we didn't think someone in Russa could break into their computers.
Today, it feels like the whole world can see our financial, medical, and travel histories, and we even acknowledge that what happens in Vegas might not stay in Vegas.
Those fears stem from all those data-driven applications to which we are addicted. Come on, give us just one more cool iPhone app.
As consumers and citizens those fears haunt you. As analytics professionals you aren't just feed your habit with the cool app, you help to build it. You become the trustee for everyone else's personal data. You balance the need to help your company grow with the tasks of safeguarding and responsibly using all that data that really belongs to millions of others.
Our upcoming All Analytics Academy: Data Privacy for You, For All will feature experts who, in large part, will focus on the high-wire act that is data privacy. The speakers in our five sessions will share best practices in areas such as protecting customer data, finding the balance between marketing initiatives and protecting customer privacy, expanding your business globally while dealing with myriad and contradictory privacy policies, and protecting employee and corporate data.
The whole idea with the academy is that you get advice that you can apply to your job. So, I hope you will sign up for any or all of the five sessions and tune in to the presentations during the first two weeks of November.