FTC Issues Report (and Warning Shot) on Big Data Use

Building upon its 2012 Consumer Protection Report, its 2014 report on Data Brokers, and a public workshop held on September 15, 2014, the FTC issued a new report on January 6, 2016, with recommendations to businesses on the growing use of big data:  Big Data: A Tool for Inclusion or Exclusion? Understanding the Issues (“2016 Big Data Report”).  Rather than focusing on prior themes of notice, choice, and security, the 2016 Big Data Report addresses only the commercial use of big data consisting of consumer information, and focuses on impacts of such big data uses on low-income and underserved populations.

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Top Ten Data Protection and Privacy Issues to Watch in 2016

*This post originally appeared in Law360 on January 7, 2016.

While 2015 was a big year in data, 2016 may prove to be even bigger.  Many hot button and game changing topics are being debated in legislative bodies and campaign trails, regulators are focused, and privacy-related litigation continues to rise. Below, we count down the top ten cybersecurity, data protection and privacy issues to watch in 2016.

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The Opportunities and the Challenges of Big Data for Business and Public Policy*

*Based on Remarks at the Big Data East Big Data Innovation Conference, September 9, 2015

I believe in the enormous potential of big data. Erik Brynolfsson and Andrew McAfee, authors of The New Machine Age and leading scholars of the digital economy, have compared the power and granularity of computational science to the transformation in understanding of nature that occurred when Anton Van Leuwenhook first peered at samples through his newly-invented microscope. We are seeing new advances in medicine, in social science, new ways of teasing out causation from correlation.

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Data protection challenges in the new era of Big Data

Data Protection Law & Policy

“Data is the new oil” – This statement by Neelie Kroes in 2011 has since been on everyone’s mind and with the constant development of new technologies, the importance of data has grown dramatically over the past few years and in recognition of this it seems that we have now entered into a new era: the era of Big Data. William Long and Geraldine Scali, Partner and Associate respectively at Sidley Austin LLP explore the potential data protection issues that may arise.

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Heads Up for Privacy, Data Protection and Cybersecurity in 2014

The new year will ring in significant privacy, data protection and cybersecurity changes in the U.S., Europe, Asia and elsewhere around the world. Below are some key developments and possible concrete action items for General Counsels, Chief Privacy Officers and Chief Information Officers:

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The UK Data Protection Authority issues a Code of practice on anonymization

In November 2012, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) published a Code of Practice on managing data protection risks related to anonymization. This Code provides a framework for organisations considering using anonymization and explains what it expects from organisations using such processors.

One of the benefits of anonymization is that the onerous data protection obligations under EU data protection laws, including the UK’s Data Protection Act 1998, will not apply to data rendered anonymous such that individuals are no longer identifiable.

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