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Open Source Data Collection Panel Discussion #EconOpenSource

The Economist/Luminati Networks Open Source Data Collection Event took place last week addressing several captivating topics as well as debating the need for clearer regulation and ecosystem. The conversation was led by Duncan Weldon, Britain economics correspondent, The Economist. The following market leaders shared their thoughts and shed light on several intriguing questions.

This article is a first of a series and will take you through the pioneering debate.

Open Source Data

The event kicked off with a challenging question.

Why do we need open-source data collection?

Mark Joseph, chairman, Luminati Networks:

Open-source data collection directly impacts most consumers around the world. Whether it’s while purchasing a product online or making reservations for a future trip or clicking on an advertisement that attracted your attention – chances are that open-source data collection has played a key role in your choice.

This is why. For an e-commerce brand to set their pricing strategy they need to conduct their research online and naturally explore the competition as well.

In today’s reality, where our web-technology goes hand-in-hand with personalization and hyper-identification, chances are that a specific retailer will be quickly identified by its competitor while attempting to view this competitor’s internet site and will be immediately blocked.

To further clarify, consumers like you and I can view any site of any kind at any time openly businesses that wish to do so, DO NOT enjoy the same kind of transparency. Transparency leads to open competition and open competition benefits both consumers and businesses.

Why do we need data collection?

Menny Barzilay, chief executive, Cytactic:

I think open-source data collection is very important for cybersecurity. If you take an ad verification as an example, to fight the hackers that have become extremely sophisticated you must simulate/imitate the average consumers. Hackers know when they are being watched. For the first time, fraud is led by the smartest people in the world. The effective way to check your ad journey has reached its correct target audience and has not fallen into the hands of fraudsters is by testing it through the eyes of your consumers with open-source data collection and well-orchestrated proxy service.

Jenni Tennison OBE, chief executive, Open Data Institute:

Especially around pricing, having better access around price data, probably makes the market work better. Shouldn’t those companies and organizations make their data open and available and explicitly licensing it as open data? Shouldn’t governments be stepping in? Having these sorts of technologies for getting access to this kind of information, for me it’s a powerful signal that the market needs it in order to function well. There should be an action to make it happen.

Steve King, chief executive, and co-founder, Black Swan Data

We use data collection to listen to people’s opinions, what they want, what they need so we and our customers can predict the future and tailor it to the current needs. I completely agree with Jeni, we need the structure to make sure that what we’re doing is the right thing.

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