1 min

Lecture: The Paradox of Privacy

Fulbright Guest Professors at the St. Pölten UAS

Lecture: The Paradox of Privacy
Lecture: The Paradox of Privacy
Copyright: FH St. Pölten / Johanna Rakaseder

Recently, via the renowned Fulbright-Program two professors have been invited to the Department Media & Economics: Noushin Ashrafi of University of Massachusetts lectured about the topic "The Paradox of Privacy: Conflicting Values at the age of Big Data" and Carlos Juarez of Hawai‘i Pacific University reported on "Cross Cultural Relations". Below a summary of the lecture by Noushin Ashrafi.

Big data between security and privacy

The complex network of Big Data is hard to comprehend and to describe. By means of more advanced communication technologies more and more people network with each other and share and exchange consciously and unconsciously a huge amount of data. Due to Big Data it is possible to evaluate gathered information and to turn it into knowledge. 

The paradox of Big Data lies within its potential use: On the one hand Big Data leads to an increase in security. Here, Ashrafi refers to the attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, where terrorists could be sought out after only one day. Among others Big Data made it possible to follow and evaluate the communication and data exchange between the culprits. 

Free market and free decision

Also in the free market economy Big Data has its use: By evaluating all data available on the internet corporations are able to gain sound knowledge about their target groups. Many people are not aware of this fact and discussions are held on if and how the gathering of data with the aim of profit maximisation should take place.

The saving and processing of data cost humans a big part of their privacy. Strictly speaking, people have to decide between privacy and security, so Ahrafi. As it is common in the free market economy a giving and taking reigns – in the name of security one sacrifices a part of one’s privacy. Ashrafi emphasizes the importance to know about Big Data and to decide accordingly which information to publish and which not.

Studying internationally

The St. Pölten UAS regularly invites notable guest professors, among others via the renowned Fulbright-Program for international academic exchange. Thus, the UAS provides its students with valuable international perspectives and contacts in the course of their studies. In the academic year of 2013/2014, 47 guest professors and guest lecturers taught at the St. Pölten UAS.

About Noushin Ashrafi

Noushin Ashrafi is professor at Boston University (USA) specialising in management information systems. By publishing over 50 articles and a book called “Object-Oriented System Analysis and Design“, she set new standards in her field of research.

About Carlos Juarez

Carlos Juarez is chairman at the Department of Social Sciences and professor of Political Science at Hawai’i Pacific University on Honolulu. Juarez further teaches in Europe, Mexico, South America, Australia and New Zealand. On behalf of Hawaii he is a member of Board of Governors of the Pacific and Asian Affairs Council (PAAC).