Monday, June 3, 2013

Big Data Is Immutable

Today's blog, like yesterday's blog, is based on a discussion in Principles of Big Data: Preparing, Sharing, and Analyzing Complex Information.  The book's table of contents is shown in an earlier blog.

excerpt from book: "Everyone is familiar with the iconic image, from Orwell's 1984, of a totalitarian government that watches its citizens from telescreens. The ominous phrase, "Big Brother is watching you," evokes an important thesis of Orwell's masterpiece; that a totalitarian government can use an expansive surveillance system to crush its critics.  Lest anyone forget, Orwell's book had a second thesis, that was, in my opinion, more insidious and more disturbing than the threat of governmental surveillance.  Orwell was concerned that governments could change the past and the present by inserting, deleting, and otherwise distorting the information available to citizens.  In Orwell's 1984, old reports of military defeats, genocidal atrocities, ineffective policies, mass starvation, and any ideas that might foment unrest among the proletariat, could all be deleted and replaced with propaganda pieces.  Such truth-altering activities were conducted undetected, routinely distorting everyone's perception of reality to suit a totalitarian agenda. Aside from understanding the dangers inherent in a surveillance-centric society, Orwell [foretold] the dangers inherent with mutable Big Data." [i.e., when archived data that can be deleted, inserted or altered].

"One of the purposes of this book is to describe the potential negative consequences of Big Data, if the data is not collected ethically, not prepared thoughtfully, not analyzed openly, and not subjected to constant public review and correction."

In tomorrow's blog, I'll continue as discussion of mutability and immutability as they pertain to the design and maintenance of Big Data resources.

- Jules Berman 

key words: Big Data, Jules J. Berman, Ph.D., M.D., data integrity, data abuse, data revision, dystopia, dystopian society, distortion of reality, big brother mentality, archiving, dystopia, George Orwell, newspeak, persistence, persistent data, saving data, time-stamp, immutable, immutability, privacy, confidentiality, Big Brother

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