International Workshop on Computer Auditing Education, 2015
Big Data and the Audit Challenge

Hart Will, Dipl.-Kfm., Ph.D., CPA, CMA.

Professor Emeritus of Information Systems and Computer Auditing

University of Victoria, Canada


   “Big Data” is a technologicalterm with a seemingly cognitive connotation that masks an ideological orientation of those attempting to be benevolently, criminally of even “innocently”in control of our knowledge and subsequent actions. Without an epistemological foundation“small”and especially “big” data are a myth.When “the truth” becomes “what’s on a digital screen” under the control of those in charge of “the cloud” we may be clouding our cultural heritage to anextent that makes us exposed to and manipulated by those screening and displaying our data. As a consequence, subsequent information and knowledge cannot be critically assessed and audited for lack of evidence.All lessons learned during the centuries of enlightening efforts seem to be forgotten and ignored by or unknown to those in control of modern information technology. They act primarily for their own economic, political, and social benefits and feel “justified” by the big-data-ideology.Knowledge must remain relevant to, testable and rationally believable by the legitimate recipients of any and alldata and information. The audit challenge has become phenomenalduring the “digital big data age!”A framework for data governance is overdue in those fields heavily dependent on information technology.

Key Words : Audit theory, big data, data governance, information systems theory