Daily Post 1373


Till around a few years back data was an unknown commodity, declaring it as an asset could have put you in the category of lunatics. The push into digital existence and its documentation in a structured manner and ease of its retrieval, made data a product to be reckoned with, in its own right. It was not by way of passage. Crossing the discovery of spikes, lows and percentages, data now can provide insights which we had never imagined, leading to its monetisation. Data stands at this juncture at present, redefining business, commence, trade, research et al, and that explains the battle for it.

Understanding it is not as simple as it sounds. The complexity makes it extremely challenging and no effort has even been made to understand this strange animal in totality. The academic efforts would very rarely yield fruits and the commercial enterprises only know how to harvest it, to their advantage and end up in mercenary monetisation. This is the proverbial story of the six blind men and the elephant. The Facebook – Cambridge Analytica fix seems to have blown over, but the issue has not. Is there any way to Audit Facebook data? Do they have any mechanism? Or the business model does not subscribe to any checks and balances? Even if KcKinsy were to conduct Data Audit of Facebook, they would not be able to unravel complete data, it’s process, use, life cycle, connects, permissions, monetisation etc. Every single user is a owner. Do we even have informed consent?

It is becoming more and more pernicious with every passing day. The backdoors, the encryptions, server locations, laws of different nations, issues are endless. The creators of monopolistic mounds of data, the IT behemoths know how to handle it. Only they can handle and nobody else. Rest would drown in the quicksand of their creation. That expertise is yet to be created. General Data Protection Regulation of the European Union was created as Gold Standard, even after two years of its implementation, is still to find its way. Data Audit as a field has still not had it’s brith. The overall discipline of Cyber Security, which itself is in infancy, can barley do justice to the biggest asset of mankind today.

It makes sense to learn swimming when you know you are likely to get drowned, to save your own life. This is the state we are already in. However crude or perfunctory to start with, Data Audit should take off and it has to be a state function, otherwise consultants turned auditors will make hay while the sun shines. The Data Auditors once certified and put on the job would starting picking up the tricks of the trade. They would specialise in one domain preferably, domain being the key to decipher the data complexities. An overall Data Authority needs to manage this asset for the individuals, companies, governments and the nation.


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