Administration Launches Big Data and Privacy Review

By David Bruggeman
February 28, 2014

As part of the government response to public concerns over national security surveillance programs, the President announced in January that there would be a review of government activity related to the collection and use of ‘Big Data.’  The effort will involve several government bodies, and is led by White House Counselor John Podesta.  He will work with the Secretaries of Energy and Commerce, as well as the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the Council of Economic Advisers.  Podesta recently explained the goals of this multi-agency review in a White House blog post.

“When we complete our work, we expect to deliver to the President a report that anticipates future technological trends and frames the key questions that the collection, availability, and use of “big data” raise – both for our government, and the nation as a whole. It will help identify technological changes to watch, whether those technological changes are addressed by the U.S.’s current policy framework and highlight where further government action, funding, research and consideration may be required.”

Part of this effort involves a study by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology on big data and privacy.  USACM signed onto a letter encouraging PCAST to include public input in its study process.   OSTP is co-sponsoring a series of workshops on Big Data and Privacy, the first one will take place next week at MIT.  Additional workshops are planned for New York University and Berkeley later this year.