In the last decade, society has witnessed a digital revolution that has transformed the way in which we interact, work, learn, and do business. The Big Data revolution helps us to spot socially valuable insights or unlock new forms of economic value in data. This rapid technology-driven development, however, raises some important political and ethical questions: How can we make full use of data analytics in a responsible and human-centered manner, and make sure that people’s data and privacy are protected? Setting rules fit for the digital age in both economic and ethical terms is one of the key challenges of our time.
To illustrate how people in Europe perceive the handling of their personal data and about privacy issues, the Vodafone Institute for Society and Communications initiated “Big Data – A European Survey on the Opportunities and Risks of Data Analytics”. The survey of the consumer perspective in eight European countries addresses everyday situations in which people consciously or unconsciously disclose their personal data when it is collected by private companies or public institutions to enable customised products, services and experiences.