The quantity of information in the world is soaring. Merely keeping up with, and storing new information is difficult enough. Analyzing it, to spot patterns and extract useful information, is harder still. Even so, this data deluge has great potential for good—as long as consumers, companies, and governments make the right choices about when to restrict the flow of data, and when to encourage it. Find out more.
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deluge also poses risks. Examples abound of databases being stolen: disks full of social-security data go missing, laptops loaded with tax records are left in taxis, credit-card numbers are stolen from online retailers. The result is privacy breaches, identity theft and fraud. Privacy infringements are also possible even without such foul play: witness the periodic fusses when Facebook or Google unexpectedly change the privacy settings on their online social networks, causing members to reveal personal in