Data without limits but trust is limited

“Managing Trust” is the main theme of this week’s CeBIT in Hannover, Germany. Managing Trust is a logical progression from the main theme of CeBIT 2011, “Work & Life with the Cloud”. Usage of cloud-based solutions continues to increase, but lack of trust in these offerings remains a major obstacle. “CeBIT has set the goal on reducing the gap between confidence in modern technologies and the actual trustworthiness of digital solutions. This is the only way for innovation to reach full strength”, stressed Ernst Raue, the Deutsche Messe Board Member responsible for CeBIT, on Monday in Hannover. The next big question to answer is – how to claim data if the trust level is not sufficient yet?

The cloud is ready for big data

When it’s up to Dr. Werner Vogels, CTO at Amazon, we store all our data in the cloud, he names it “data without limits”. Vogels claims we shouldn’t be depending on the availability of hard disks for our business. If you focus on data analysis you should leave storage to the pro’s. Talking about data without limits Vogels distinguishes 5 different parts which are equally important:

  1. Collect: gather data
  2. Store: don’t delete, just keep all your data, sooner or later it might be useful
  3. Organize: clean it to prepare it for analysis
  4. Analyze: processes which have to rely on the availability of computing power. Good analysis are really valuable
  5. Share: once information has been generated it’s time to use it. There are many nice examples of free sharing of data.

For all these different phases Amazon has an appropriate cloud offering which I’m not going to mention here. The cloud seems to be ready to really provide us with unlimited storage and computing power to create valuable information from our huge amounts of data.

But do we trust the cloud and the providers offering it?

It’s nice the cloud is ready to be used, but many companies and organizations are hesitating. The regulation is not always sufficiently clear to them.

In addition for end-users it’s completely not clear what their personal data is being used for.

During a panel discussion at CeBIT personal data was named the Internet currency and in the e-commerce domain they named it “the new oil”. This proofs that our personal data is of big value.

But not always do we want service providers to use our data. On the other hand the younger generation seems not to care too much.

Therefore, Neelie Kroes, the EU-Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, Vice-President of the European Commission, mentioned that we should all take care of the younger generation. She also requested more transparency by the service providers. They have to be more open and clear about what they are using personal data for. Besides, user control is essential. The usage of personal data should be fair, it should be clear what’s in it for us, as Prof. Dr. Heuser mentioned.

Unfortunately, service providers are really hesitating, something Neelie Kroes doesn’t understand. In her opinion providers can gain competitive advantage by being open and transparent about the usage of personal data and showing their willingness to transfer or delete your data on your request.

The hardest issue here might be to define who’s the owner of the data. It’s clear that all content the user has added could be treated as his personal data. But how to define the information the provider has added basing on data mining thanks to the information the users has provided and the actions he performed?

That more European or even worldwide legislation is needed was one of the conclusion of the panel discussion. It’s impossible that within Europe a provider has to deal with different rules of each country. On the other hand the industry should show its good side. And not all of them are doing this “as we could recently learn”, was how the chairman concluded the discussion.

The technology for data without limits is there, but the trust among data collectors might yet not be sufficient to make use of the cloud in all business domains. Besides, the ownership of data is unclear, consumers have the right to know what’s happening with their valuable data. What’s your opinion about this? Please share below!


Aspire Blog Team

Aspire Systems is a global technology services firm serving as a trusted technology partner for our customers. We work with some of the world's most innovative enterprises and independent software vendors, helping them leverage technology and outsourcing in our specific areas of expertise. Our services include Product Engineering, Enterprise Solutions, Independent Testing Services and IT Infrastructure Support services. Our core philosophy of "Attention. Always." communicates our belief in lavishing care and attention on our customers and employees.


  1. Indeed a legislation for all UE is required in this case. Of course providers can’t be 100% transparent with their customer, but when the customer demands to know a certain info, he should have access

    1. Thanks for your reply. I agree a customer should be able to have access to its data and in addition to that he should be able to decide what should happen with it. But the “ownership” of the data is a big issue here. Hopefully, legislation will help, but I’m not sure about that. What do you think?

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