Big Data Report by White House

In January 2014, President Obama asked his Counselor John Podesta to lead a 90-day review of big data and privacy. Over the course of 90 days,  John Podesta and his team met with academic researchers and privacy advocates, with regulators and the technology industry, with advertisers and civil rights groups.  Though the report did not answer and was not supposed to answer every question on Big data but it certainly did find some useful insights and recommendations in some key areas where big data is playing a critical role. The complete report is available: Click Here


The key findings of the report are:

Positive: Helping us make better decisions

1. Big Data is helping save lives: With real time monitoring and analysis of millions of data inputs from neonatal intensive care unit, one study was able to relate a slight increase in body temperature to an infection which would not come to notice even to the most experienced doctor and this insight can help doctors to work on the infection from the data gathered.

2. Big Data is enabling us to make smarter decisions:  Most of the business either online or offline are now actively monitoring hundreds of data points and whose basis they are able to make decision based on data rather than intuition.

3. Big Data is helping to prevent fraud: By using predictive analytics – a data analytics technique,  organizations are able to prevent fraud instances in financial institutions.


Negative: – Privacy Concern:

1.  Data once created is generally permanent: Data is pilling up real fast and quick and once generated it cannot be crawled back. Hence, it is of utmost importance to secure the data and prevent it from falling in wrong hands.

2.  Privacy Laws are outdated: With growing dependence on cloud storage; emails, personal information, businesses (website); the laws and policy governing this needs to updated from time to time.

3.  Data can reveal Identity: With more and more data being complied from various discrete sources, if we compile this data and use “data fusion” technique then we can find personally identifiable information that can pin point back to us.

We must encourage the use of big data to help us make better decisions and at the same time we must also look into the serious privacy concern raised by Big data through law, policy and ethical practices.

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