Note — Jun 02, 2019

Jim Balsillie : ‘Data Is Not the New Oil – It’s the New Plutonium’

Seen in → No.82

Source →

Jim Balsillie, retired co-CEO of Research In Motion, has been pretty constant and adamant over the last couple of years in his criticism of smart cities (like he did for Sidewalk Toronto) and surveillance capitalism. This time again, he makes a good case with some useful wording and framings. He also offers six recommendations which are worth a read.

(Transcript of his testimony at the hearings of the International Grand Committee on Big Data, Privacy and Democracy being held in Ottawa, Canada.)

The online advertisement-driven business model subverts choice and represents a foundational threat to markets, election integrity and democracy itself. […]

Data at the micro-personal level gives technology unprecedented power to influence. Data is not the new oil – it’s the new plutonium. Amazingly powerful, dangerous when it spreads, difficult to clean up and with serious consequences when improperly used. […]

When this new Fourth Estate declines to appear before this Committee — as Silicon Valley executives are currently doing — it is symbolically asserting this aspirational co-equal status. But it is asserting this status and claiming its privileges without the traditions, disciplines, legitimacy or transparency that checked the power of the traditional Fourth Estate.