"For the past decade, 'big data' was the buzzword for leveraging sophisticated analytics over large data pools to gain deep insights into consumers’ shopping behavior. Media stories, such as a retailer determining a woman’s pregnancy status by analyzing her hand cream purchases, captivated the imagination and raised concerns about data ethics. With Edward Snowden’s revelations, the public’s awareness of big data pivoted to concerns about living in a surveillance state. By the time the nation recognized that big data turned from a tool to gain insight into the human mind into the means for attacking it, the largest, coordinated data attack was in the rear view mirror, as we were forced to face the aftermath of foreign interference in the 2016 elections. In that attack, the perpetrators weaponized data to understand their audience, to tailor their messages, and to deliver the messages with impact to precisely targeted audiences."
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