Summary of Monitoring, Surveillance, Sousveillance

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Given all the hype surrounding big data, Elizabeth Churchill’s admission that organizations compulsively and even carelessly gather data is refreshing. Churchill, a director of user experience at Google, addresses the most pressing issues about data gathering and surveillance, and she implores her audience to question data-collection processes. Though Churchill’s shrewd talk raises more questions than it answers, getAbstract believes her insights may prompt fruitful discourse among consumers and data scientists alike.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why companies and governments mindlessly collect data,
  • Why you should question data-collection processes, and
  • How the field of data science can evolve to engender trust.

About the Speaker

Psychologist Elizabeth Churchill is a director of user experience at Google.



Why do corporations and governments collect consumer data – that is, information people reveal through their use of devices and services? In truth, even companies often don’t know the answer. For their part, consumers certainly don’t know why businesses collect personal data, and this makes users anxious.

Many people view data collection as a form of surveillance. However, surveillance gathers intelligence for a specific purpose. The growth of the Internet of Things and smart homes means that government agencies and corporate entities collect data simply because they can. They posit that the data might prove...

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