The future of big data — the big elephant in the room
By Kirsten Whitfield
Having remained fairly static for about 20 years, data protection laws in Europe are on the cusp of their next major overhaul. Two of the key drivers are to encourage public trust in entities that hold and use personal data and to bring outdated data protection laws in line with fast-paced technological developments. All very positive sounding so far, but why now and what’s in the detail?
Why the change? ‘Rapid technological developments and globalisation have brought new challenges for the protection of personal data. The scale of data sharing and collection has increased spectacularly. Technology allows both private companies and public authorities to make use of personal data on an unprecedented scale in order to pursue their activities. Individuals increasingly make personal information available publicly and globally. Technology has transformed both the economy and social life, and requires improved legal safeguards that will facilitate the free flow of data within the European Union and the transfer to third countries and international organisations, ensuring a high level of the protection of personal data.’ — Recital 5, 17-12-2014, European Parliament Draft Report on the General Data Protection Regulation.
In a communication of the European Commission at the start of July 2014, it was acknowledged that big data will play a pivotal role in the growth of the ICT sector in Europe, that it ‘holds enormous potential’ and Europe simply cannot afford to miss out…
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