Edward Snowden's back! And in more ways than one
It's been a busy week for Edward Snowden & Co. A new trove of Snowden's NSA secret files were given to the media from Snowden's "Moscow bureau" showing that the National Security Agency is harvesting hundreds of millions of contact lists from personal e-mail and instant messaging accounts around the world, many of them belonging to Americans, The Washington Post reported.
Meanwhile, Snowden said in an interview published in The New York Times (and conducted via encrypted email over a longer period) that he gave nothing to China, because he was able to outsmart its state security apparatus, and took nothing to Russia, so don't go calling him a double agent. In fact, he said again, he would just like Americans to have a debate about what kind of privacy invasions they will accept. Snowden also told the Times that its report about him previously attempting to steal information when he worked at the CIA was wrong (something the CIA has also come out to say), though the Times hasn't retracted the story.
The Edward Snowden economy was in high gear this past week, too: The first big Hollywood movie of the Leaker Society opened in the U.S., "The Fifth Estate", a take on the life of WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange. And one of Snowden's primary press gatekeeper, former lawyer turned journalist Glenn Greenwald, left The Guardian to run a new journalistic enterprise funded with $250 million by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. Here is Omidyar's explanation for his foray into journalism with an "enemy of the state."
(Read more: 10 surprising ways companies are using your data)
Silicon Valley's next big market: Zimbabwe
Quick quiz: Which of these countries is not among the global leaders in terms of population of digital natives—individuals age 15-24 with five years' online experience—New Zealand, South Korea, Iceland, Malaysia or Zimbabwe? If you answered Zimbabwe, you're ... wrong! Zimbabwe may not be quite as high on the list as the others—the top four of the globe when it comes to network-enabled youth—but Zimbabwe's digital native population is arguably more interesting, coming within an authoritarian regime where economic growth is no given. Michael Best, Georgia Tech professor, who just completed a study for the U.N.'s ITU about the number of digital natives around the globe—363 million—explains why the "youth bulge" and Zimbabwe's youth in particular are important narratives for the 21st century.
Retailers: The future of big data is in ... a Turkish bazaar
Writing on Forbes sponsored content section, Reza Soudagar, senior director of database and technology marketing at SAP, says the first massive big data success in the retail industry has been around for a long, long time, and didn't originate in Silicon Valley, but in ... in the grand bazaar of Istanbul. "When I ventured into the shops where the famed Turkish rugs were sold, a startlingly different thought came to me: The Grand Bazaar, which was built shortly after the arrival of the Ottoman Empire, has been putting Big Data to work for decades!"
The SAP executive argues that the bazaar gathers insight about customers in order to sell their goods in a way that is a microcosm of how retailers are applying big data for the same purpose. If you've felt fleeced by some of the recent nebulous explanations for how to apply big data to generating business profits, look to the past, and the east.
—By Eric Rosenbaum, CNBC.com