What do you understand by "Data Science" and "Big Data"? Discuss while analyzing their potential in changing the way politics and governance is conducted.

Published: May 9, 2017

Data Science is a technique of data extraction for information that uses a combination of mathematics, programming, problem solving, statistics and capturing data for cleansing, preparing and aligning the data.
Big data refers to that data which is so huge in number that it cannot be processed using the traditional data extracting techniques. These kinds of data require innovative forms of information processing that enable enhanced insight, decision making and process information.
Role in changing the way politics and governance is conducted:

  • The e-government projects developed through data science increase operational efficiency by speeding up the formalities. An example is the e-passport system
  • The open government efforts through the internet foster public service transparency, civic participation and inter-departmental collaboration
  • Data science and big data help in making the administration more citizen-focused. Along with collecting information on citizen’s reaction or opinion, the same can be recorded and a statistics on positive, negative and neutral. These are done through rate or rank services.
  • It is often used for institutionalizing public-private partnerships

But the use of this also poses certain challenges to governance:
Recently, situations have arisen where the government has used social media and big data to crack down on people who criticized them. One example is that of Snowden, who after revealing US Tempora and UK Prism programmes had to look for asylum in other countries lest he be charged of acts of cyber terrorism and criminality.  It has often been contested that civilians’ lifestyle and personal information is becoming public data and is hurting the right to privacy of citizens. With the big data available to all, the problem of data ownership, management and misuse arises.

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