The Internet of Things--a state in the not distant future when hundreds of billions of devices now disconnected from computer networks will routinely transmit data across the web--will require a new privacy paradigm, says the Future of Privacy Forum. A notice and choice paradigm will be unrealistic under those conditions, says the white paper.
The White House announced Nov. 12 new commitments that add to its list of projects supported by the Obama Administration's $200 million big data initiative, which it launched in March 2012. Among the new collaborations is a partnership with big pharma manufacturers to help enhance clinicaltrials.gov and a partnership with Amazon Web Services to publicly host NASA Earth-observing data.
The advent of big data leaves federal policymakers with at least two opposite ways to ensure privacy--limit data collection, or allow agencies to store everything and later limit and audit database searches, as the NSA has done with telephony metadata. That second option "will fundamentally change the relationship we have with the state. It means the state will be in a better control position, because it has all this data on our activities," said Greg Nojeim of the Center for Democracy and Technology.
A European Parliament committee approved earlier this week a data protection measure that would restrict the transfer of individuals' data for law enforcement or intelligence purposes outside of the European Union.
Big data doesn't just utilize data: It creates data often of a highly personal nature, and that's a challenge to today's set of privacy protections, argues a paper by a Microsoft researcher and a law academic. Famously, retail store Target is able to determine through purchasing patterns which of their customers is pregnant, leading the store in one case to send coupons for maternity clothing and nursery furniture to a Minneapolis teenager who hadn't yet updated her family, the New York Times reported in 2012.
Federal agencies with missions related to science and technology are funding research that aims to build capabilities for the analysis of massive data, says a new book published by the National Research Council. While authors did not recommend where agencies should increase grant money, they did outline emerging challenges and opportunities agencies should be aware of as massive data analysis becomes a more popular federal-funding area.
The era of big data has frightening implications for national security as well as personal privacy, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency acknowledges in an oblique way through a small business solicitation for tools for the rapid anonymization and de-anonymization of data and a framework to measure the national security impact of vast troves of publically available data.
The Defense Information Systems Agency sees big data and analytics as key components to providing cyber situational awareness for the Defense Department's networks, said an official speaking at the Aug. 9 Forecast to Industry at DISA headquarters in Ft. Meade, Md. The agency has launched a cyber-analytic cloud environment to support the DoD called Acropolis.
The National Institutes of Health announced July 22 it will spend up to $24 million per year, over four years as part of a plan to bring researchers together around big data in biomedicine.
Many people think data security is only an issue for the Defense Department, the intelligence community or the Homeland Security Department, said Commerce CIO Simon Szykman while speaking May 14 at the FOSE conference in Washington, D.C. "Even if the confidentiality of the data is not key, the long-term integrity of the data is," he said.