The arrival of big data, it would appear, has bought with it an era of 'big brother' monitoring your every move based on the mass of information generated by mobile devices and the use of social media.
Just last month, the White House published its "Big Data" review in which it suggested updates to laws and measures to bolster privacy and prevent discrimination based on the data trail consumers leave on their phones and computers that are collected and analyzed by companies.
If big data brings about an Orwellian fear of a 'big brother,' perhaps there's a way to look at in more positive terms like a 'big sister' that looks out for you.
"Your level of engagement, interactions, elaborated in the big data clouds, is becoming useful back to you. It 'provides' for you like a 'big sister' would," said Nico Abbruzzese, global director of creative technology at Metalworks by Maxus, a media agency network based in Singapore.
"It's about augmentation. Big sister knows me and knows what I like and anticipates my needs by providing suggestions to make my life easier. That's great because we have far less time and far more choices to trawl through these days," he added.
Some examples of this in play are the recommendations for books or music based on previous purchases on websites such as Amazon.com.
In addition, there's also the growing use of wearable technology that takes the data you generate and gives you back information you might find useful such as how many calories you need to burn to stay in shape.
"Big Data increases technology efficiencies that enable many useful new businesses to grow. Such as Uber for taxis, online car share schemes like Liftshare and music sites like Spotify. These make very little, if any use of 'personal data' – but are essential to make them work for you – such as location and musical taste," said Robert Webster, chief product officer, at global advertising technology firm Crimtan.
"Other useful new tools do require use of your personal data – such as personal health apps on cell phones, but you are asked if you want to provide this information. Ultimately, there has to be a fair exchange between the consumer and the technology cloud and you may need to give away something about yourself in exchange for a benefit," he said.
Pros and cons aside, the use of big data has stoked a debate about the need to protect privacy.
"'Big data' is a fairly meaningless catch-all phrase which is being lazily overused," says William Eccleshare, the CEO of Clear Channel Outdoor, one of the world's biggest outdoor advertising firms.