With rising cyber-crime and the exploitation of personal data for commercial gain, companies have to work hard to gain consumer trust

Throughout the day, for business and pleasure, most of us create, release and share content about ourselves into the immensity of the worldwide web, inadvertently leaving behind a digital trail of personal data.

Every time you send an email, pay for a coffee using a bank card, or simply walk down a street fitted with surveillance cameras, your personal information gets released, captured and stored onto the internet.

Big data, extremely large data sets that can be analysed to extract patterns in thought and behaviour, brings with it big opportunity for companies. It is possible to learn a great deal about an individual’s movements, interests and relationships by analysing data associated with their use of a communications network. The OECD estimates that the personal data relating to a single European consumer is worth just under $5 a year to Facebook. Data from an American is worth closer to $10.

When used in an ethical context, data analytics can provide a host of benefits to business and society, including identifying human rights abuses in supply chains (see pages xx) Yet such benefits must be set against the potential impact on the human right to privacy, something enshrined in the Universal Declaration...

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