Big Data in Society: Security, Terrorism, Conflict and Intervention

Written by: David Duvall

Big data is changing societies around the world in a number of ways, it has many benefits but there are also disadvantages to this development. This summary will discuss how security, terrorism, conflict, and intervention have changed over the last decades and how big data has had a significant influence on this change.Big data has allowed for continuous and near ubiquitous observation and surveillance. This has influenced how nations on a large scale and people on a much smaller scale attempt to achieve and maintain their security. On a national scale the United States is world renowned for collecting large amounts of information and processing it for potential terrorist threats. The United States has several times overstepped though, such as when the NSA “tapped” Chancellor Merkel’s phone. This is a clear potential disadvantage if misused. On a small scale, big data could be used for a responsive home monitoring system among other uses.Connectivity is increased by the use of big data, which has had an effect on security, terrorism, conflict, and intervention. Security is improved because it is able to be more responsive and potentially prevent an event before it occurs. Terrorist groups are able to spread their message further and to more people through the use of social media, most notably. On the other hand, governments and their agencies are able to communicate and cooperate more effectively and efficiently to counteract these groups. Big data has made cyber attacks more prevalent in terms of conflict as several countries store large sums of data with personal and confidential information across the world. Intervention has also changed due to connectivity because both documenting and spreading the news of events has become easier and more accessible across the world. Storage of this data has become possible but it is a potential threat because it could be vulnerable to unauthorized access. The large sums of personal and confidential information held by countries like the U.S. could potentially be used against these people in a number of ways such as identity theft or blackmail. The spreading of terrorist group’s ideas and videos on the Internet highlights the inability of total control on the Internet. Governments that permit the use of the Internet can monitor the Internet but cannot effectively control it. Another example of this are websites which offer pirated material on the internet. Big data has also raised the question of trust throughout society. Among people the issue is how much information a person should share with others on the Internet, some if not many of these being people they might not actually know. The other issue is the amount of control and surveillance the governments and institutions have and are able to use with big data.


One thought on “Big Data in Society: Security, Terrorism, Conflict and Intervention

  1. Nation state hacktivism has always been a grey area in terms of legality, do you think that this will become better with the advancement of big data? With better tools to analyze the attacks, I think accountability will also increase, as it will be easier to identify the perpetrators, which could impact the nations’ image in the media.


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