'Huge opportunities' for harvesting data shown

Jul 16, 2013

New research by experts at The University of Manchester has highlighted 'massive new opportunities' for harvesting information from digital and administrative data.

Drs Mark Elliot and Kingsley Purdam say huge quantities of useful data are now being created as a by-product of processes such as traces from , Twitter and Facebook.

However, much of it is owned by commercial companies or public bodies.

Dr Elliot said: "These new forms of data are a huge opportunity for understanding more about the big questions that face us all, such as , discrimination and .

"Twitter, when linked to data for example, could help us to understand people's attitudes, behaviour and well being.

"What is so exciting is this new information can be made available in real time as it is created.

"In fact, there's so much going on out there, it's fair to say the boundary between researcher and researched is becoming blurred: who's researching whom?

"However, our evidence suggests there is a risk that social research will be less reliable if commercial companies and organisations restrict access to these rich data sources.

"This is because to carry out robust research, we need to validate, replicate and peer review research effectively. At the moment the data world can seem a bit like the wild west."

Drs Elliot and Purdam carried out a series of interviews and a survey with leading academics, highlighting the use of the new types of data.

But they also revealed challenges to privacy amid concerns over links and data sharing between commercial companies and also government bodies.

Citizens, they say, are often not aware of the data they generate through using, for example, social media and how this is then used.

Academics, they say, need to make the case for the regulation of data and the reliability and validity of analyses and claims made of them.

Explore further: Social Security spent $300M on 'IT boondoggle'

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Big Data—for better or worse

May 22, 2013

A full 90% of all the data in the world has been generated over the last two years. The internet companies are awash with data that can be grouped and utilised. Is this a good thing?

Yahoo seeks to reveal its fight against NSA Prism requests

Jul 12, 2013

In a rare legal move, Yahoo Inc. is asking a secretive U.S. surveillance court to let the public see its arguments in a 2008 case that played an important role in persuading tech companies to cooperate with a controversial ...

Gauging the risk of fraud from social media

Jun 21, 2013

Are there indicators of whether people present an increased risk of fraudulent behaviour? This is a question that fascinates Dr Maurice van Keulen, a researcher at the University of Twente's Centre for Telematics ...

Recommended for you

UK: Former reporter sentenced for phone hacking

3 hours ago

(AP)—A former British tabloid reporter was given a 10-month suspended prison sentence Thursday for his role in the long-running phone hacking scandal that shook Rupert Murdoch's media empire.

Evaluating system security by analyzing spam volume

3 hours ago

The Center for Research on Electronic Commerce (CREC) at The University of Texas at Austin is working to protect consumer data by using a company's spam volume to evaluate its security vulnerability through the SpamRankings.net ...

Surveillance a part of everyday life

4 hours ago

Details of casual conversations and a comprehensive store of 'deleted' information were just some of what Victoria University of Wellington students found during a project to uncover what records companies ...

European Central Bank hit by data theft

5 hours ago

(AP)—The European Central Bank said Thursday that email addresses and other contact information have been stolen from a database that serves its public website, though it stressed that no internal systems or market-sensitive ...

Twitter admits to diversity problem in workforce

7 hours ago

(AP)—Twitter acknowledged Wednesday that it has been hiring too many white and Asian men to fill high-paying technology jobs, just like several other major companies in Silicon Valley.

Social Security spent $300M on 'IT boondoggle'

19 hours ago

(AP)—Six years ago the Social Security Administration embarked on an aggressive plan to replace outdated computer systems overwhelmed by a growing flood of disability claims.

User comments : 0