Understanding Society: The Power and Perils of Data

In this issue of Ipsos Social Research Institute's Understanding Society newsletter, we focus on the potential for data to improve the way people live their lives, as well as the public perception of risks this greater reliance on data brings.

Welcome to the latest edition of the Ipsos Social Research Institute’s Understanding Society, which focuses on the power and perils of data. To help us understand the public view across the world on this key issue of our times, we present results from our Global Trends Survey. We also consider the findings of an EU-funded study investigating the traditional trade-off between privacy and security.

Given extensive recent debate about government surveillance, we are delighted to have an interview with Alan Rusbridger, Editor-in-Chief of The Guardian. He talks to us about privacy, regulation and citizen journalism.

We are equally thrilled to have an article from Nesta’s Chief Executive, Geoff Mulgan, one of Britain’s most prominent thought leaders in data innovation and the policy questions this raises. Geoff explores the movement for citizen control of data and what this might mean for the future.

Cliff Young and Elisa Bernd from our Washington office give us an insight into the power of data, its role in the 2012 US presidential election and the rise of the “forecaster-pundit”.

And in that vein, we’re also delighted to have an interview with probably the best known of this new breed, Nate Silver.

Finally Henri Wallard, Ipsos’ Deputy CEO, explores some of the big mistakes big data can lead to. We hope you enjoy this edition, and if you would like to discuss any of the issues it raises, then please get in touch.

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