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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flows. Wal-Mart is a good example. The retailer operates 8,400 stores worldwide, has more than 2m employees and handles over 200m customer transactions each week. Its revenue last year, around $400 billion, is more than the GDP of many entire countries. The sheer scale of the data is a challenge, admits Rollin Ford, the CIO at Wal-Mart's headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas. We keep a healthy paranoia. Not a sparrow falls Wal-Mart's inventory-management system, called Retail Link, enables suppliers to