Big data, as its proponents have been saying for nearly a decade now, can bring big benefits: advertisements focused on what you actually want to buy, smart cars that can help you avoid collisions or call for an ambulance if you happen to get in one anyway, wearable or implantable devices that can monitor your health and notify your doctor if something is going wrong.

It can also lead to big privacy problems. By now it is glaringly obvious that when people generate thousands of data points every day — where they go, who they communicate with, what they read and write, what they buy, what they eat, what they watch, how much they exercise, how much they sleep and more — they are vulnerable to exposure in ways unimaginable a generation ago.

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