Driven by the declining cost of data collection, storage, and processing; fueled by new online and real-world sources of data, including sensors, cameras, and geospatial technologies; and analyzed using a suite of creative and powerful new methods, big data is fundamentally reshaping how Americans and people around the world live, work, and communicate. It is enabling important discoveries and innovations in public safety, health care, medicine, education, energy use, agriculture, and a host of other areas. But big data technologies also raise challenging questions about how best to protect privacy and other values in a world where data collection will be increasingly ubiquitous, multidimensional, and permanent.
In January, President Obama asked his Counselor John Podesta to lead a 90-day review of big data and privacy. The review was conceived as fundamentally a scoping exercise, designed to define for the President what is new about the technologies that define the big data landscape; uncover where and how big data affects public policy and the laws and norms governing privacy; to ask how and whether big data creates new challenges for the principles animating the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights embraced by the Administration in 2012; and to lay out an agenda for how government can maximize the benefits and minimize the risks of big data.
The working group sought public input and worked over 90 days with academic researchers and privacy advocates, regulators and the technology industry, advertisers and civil rights groups, the international community and the American public. This review was supported by a parallel effort by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) to research the technological trends underpinning big data. On May 1, 2014, Podesta and the big data working group presented their findings and recommendations to the President. The review did not set out to answer every question about big data, nor was it intended to develop a comprehensive policy approach to big data. However, by evaluating the opportunities and challenges presented by big data, the working group was able to draw important conclusions and make concrete recommendations to the President for Administration attention and policy development.
Contents: I. Big Data and the Individual * What is Big Data? * What is Different about Big Data? * Affirming our Values * II. The Obama Administration's Approach to Open Data and Privacy * Open Data in the Obama Administration * U.S. Privacy Law and International Privacy Frameworks * III. Public Sector Management of Data * Big Data and Health Care Delivery * Learning about Learning: Big Data and Education * Big Data at the Department of Homeland Security * Upholding our Privacy Values in Law Enforcement * Implications of Big Data Technology for Privacy Law * IV. Private Sector Management of Data * Big Data Benefits for Enterprise and Consumer * The Advertising-Supported Ecosystem * The Data Services Sector * V. Toward a Policy Framework for Big Data * Big Data and the Citizen * Big Data and the Consumer * Big Data and Discrimination * Big Data and Privacy * Anticipating the Big Data Revolution's Next Chapter * VI. Conclusion and Recommendations * 1. Preserving Privacy Values * 2. Responsible Educational Innovation in the Digital Age * 3. Big Data and Discrimination * 4. Law Enforcement and Security * 5. Data as a Public Resource