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Thursday, 17th December 2015

Meeting the Challenges of Big Data

Source: European Data Protection Supervisor

Big data, if done responsibly, can deliver significant benefits and efficiencies for society and individuals not only in health, scientific research, the environment and other specific areas. But there are serious concerns with the actual and potential impact of processing of huge amounts of data on the rights and freedoms of individuals, including their right to privacy. The challenges and risks of big data therefore call for more effective data protection.

Technology should not dictate our values and rights, but neither should promoting innovation and preserving fundamental rights be perceived as incompatible. New business models exploiting new capabilities for the massive collection, instantaneous transmission, combination and reuse of personal information for unforeseen purposes have placed the principles of data protection under new strains, which calls for thorough consideration on how they are applied...

The EU intends to maximise growth and competitiveness by exploiting big data. But the Digital Single Market cannot uncritically import the data-driven technologies and business models which have become economic mainstream in other areas of the world. Instead it needs to show leadership in developing accountable personal data processing. The internet has evolved in a way that surveillance - tracking people’s behaviour - is considered as the indispensable revenue model for some of the most successful companies. This development calls for critical assessment and search for other options.

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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

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