White House, MIT host discussion on the new implications for privacy and learning with Big Data

bigdata Big Data is taking higher education institutions by storm; however, the discussion has moved from whether or not Big Data is useful to whether or not institutions can actually manage the data received, and not just in capacity, but in privacy—privacy that, according to leading experts, is just an illusion.

During a “Big Data Privacy Workshop: Advancing the State of the Art in Technology and Practice,” co-hosted by the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP) and the MIT Big Data Initiative at CSAIL in Cambridge, MA, thought leaders from academia, government, industry and civil society came together to discuss the future role of technology in protecting and managing privacy.

The workshop, one of a series of events being held across the country in response to President Obama’s call to review privacy issues in the context of increased digital information and the computing process to power it, offered cutting-edge considerations for not only higher education institutions, like MIT, but business and the health care industry.

Big Data is not just a trend, explained Rafael Reif, president of MIT, but rather a “topic that includes a broad range. Big Data affects many people and the whole spectrum of society.”

However, as Big Data grows to cover most sectors of industry, privacy concerns are also growing as data analytics are changing in response to new algorithms and new applications.

Consulting some of the leading experts in Big Data technology, ranging from Microsoft to Harvard, five new considerations in Big Data privacy are emerging for universities and other industries, leading some to wonder if the concept of privacy is in need of a new definition.

(Next page: 5 considerations for Big Data privacy)


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