"Digital shadows" and the growing volume of digital data
Market researchers believe that the global volume of digital data is about to explode. According to a study conducted by IDC, the "digital universe" will grow by 60 percent per annum, reaching 1800 exabytes (1 exabyte = 260 bytes) by 2011.
That would be 10 times the volume of data held in 2006. Last year, the world held 281 exabytes of digital data. The main engines behind this fast growth are digital cameras and digital television. But the popularity of social networks and data recorded by sensor-supported applications and retained for surveillance purposes also play an important role in the explosion of data volumes.
The researchers stated 70 percent of this data growth results from the private and business activities of individuals. They coined the term "digital shadow" for the data that users leave behind when they make purchases with credit cards or cell phones, transmit health insurance data, or search for something on the web. Apparently the average person's digital shadow is twice as large as the information that each person generates daily. (dpa)