The quantity of information in the world is soaring. Merely keeping up with, and storing new information is difficult enough. Analyzing it, to spot patterns and extract useful information, is harder still. Even so, this data deluge has great potential for good—as long as consumers, companies, and governments make the right choices about when to restrict the flow of data, and when to encourage it. Find out more.
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of Oakland, California, releases information on where and when arrests were made, which is put out on a private website, Oakland Crimespotting. At one point a few clicks revealed that police swept the whole of a busy street for prostitution every evening except on Wednesdays, a tactic they probably meant to keep to themselves. But big data can have far more serious consequences than that. During the recent financial crisis it became clear that banks and rating agencies had been relying on models which,