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Roger Clarke's 'The Big Risks in Big Data'

Big Data, Big Risks
Supplementary Materials

Final Version of 30 July 2015

Roger Clarke **

© Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, 2014-15

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This document is at

The prior version is at

This document provides Supplementary Materials in support of the paper 'Big Data, Big Risks', at

That paper presents a series of seven Scenarios, interspersed within a theoretical assessment of data quality and decision quality factors in big data and big data analytics.

Elements of the seven Scenarios are readily found throughout the formal literatures and media reports. The purpose of this document, however, is to outline the immediate inspiration for each of the Scenarios.

(1) Fraud Detection

This is an extrapolation from existing approaches in stock exchange contexts (an industry sector in which the author has some professional experience), overlaid with 'big data' concepts. Searches on the terms already identify substantial professional and academic literatures on the topic.

(2) Creditworthiness

Occasional media reports, including this one:

Cuomo C. et al. (2009) ''GMA' Gets Answers: Some Credit Card Companies Financially Profiling Customers' ABC News, 28 January 2009, at

(3) Foster Parenting

Correspondence from a colleague about findings from data analytics reported by a government agency.

(4) Precipitation Events

This is based on personal experience in relation to the analysis of rainfall patterns near the author's conservation property, combined with the climate science debates of the last decade.

See, for example, the boldness of this paper:

Reek T., Doty S.R. & Owen T.W. (1992) 'A Deterministic Approach to the Validation of Historical Daily Temperature and Precipitation Data from the Cooperative Network' Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc. 73, 6 (June 1992) 753-762, at

(5) Ad Targeting

This is a straightforward extrapolation from the large volume of material published in recent years about 'behavioural targeting', 'web analytics' and 'interest-based targeting'.

See, for example:

O'Reilly (2012) 'Big Data Now' O'Reilly Media, 2012, pp. 56-59, at

Park S.-H., Huh S.-Y., Oh W. & Han A.P. (2012) 'A Social Network-Based Inference Model for Validating Customer Profile Data' MIS Quarterly 36, 4 (December 2012) 1217-1237, at,%2520Sang%2520Pil%5D.pdf

Chen J. & Stallaert J. (2014) 'An Economic Analysis of Online Advertising Using Behavioral Targeting' MIS Quarterly 38, 2 (June 2014) 429-449, at

(6) Insider Detection

In September 2014, the Australian Attorney-General announced upgraded security assessments for all Australian government staff.

AGD (2014) 'Australian Government Personnel Security Core Policy' Attorney-General's Dept, 2 September 2014, at

Coyne A. (2014) 'Brandis boosts vetting of APS staff to prevent insider threats' itNews, 2 September 2014, at,brandis-boosts-vetting-of-aps-staff-to-prevent-insider-threats.aspx

(7) Cancer Treatment

The first sentence is taken directly from a passage on p. 14 of a well-known book, with is much-loved by reviewers, e.g.
Mayer-Schonberger V. & Cukier K. (2013) 'Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work and Think' John Murray, 2013

The notion of research funding agencies shifting significant amounts across to digital research was reinforced by the announcement of Australia's second and third Big Data Research Centres during the same month that the scenario was drafted:

Author Affiliations

Roger Clarke is Principal of Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, Canberra. He is also a Visiting Professor in the Cyberspace Law & Policy Centre at the University of N.S.W., and a Visiting Professor in the Research School of Computer Science at the Australian National University.

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Created: 28 August 2014 - Last Amended: 30 July 2015 by Roger Clarke - Site Last Verified: 15 February 2009
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