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Shhhh…Big Things Are Quietly Happening in Data Privacy - Are They (Part of) the Solution?

Shhhh…Big Things Are Quietly Happening in Data Privacy - Are They (Part of) the Solution?

Each day, the business world and the public sector find new ways to access, process, manage, and exploit Big Data to maximize revenues, minimize churn, and operate more effectively. Data collected from vehicles drives value and efficiency throughout the automotive supply chain, from service and parts to designing future vehicles. Financial services firms use data to provide regulators with snapshots of risk, to approve or deny loans, and to identify insurance fraud. Governments use data to enhance surveillance monitoring, and to create social media watch lists to enhance public safety. Healthcare providers use data to enhance patient care, on the spot, and to get the right pharmaceuticals to the right markets faster. Marketers use data to track campaign performance and profitability, and to retool campaigns fast if they are missing the mark. Retailers track shopper behavior and conversions to rapidly respond by changing merchandise, displays, and other resources to maximize sales. Communications service providers (CSPs) track what customers are experiencing with their services, in real time, to increase satisfaction and head off churn.

In short, every commercial industry vertical, and every agency in the public sector, is using Big Data, to varying degrees, and with varying levels of effectiveness, to empower people to make better and faster decisions. The use of Big Data now permeates most aspects of business and personal life.

Organizations are focused on the wonders of harvesting all of that data, and putting it to good use. Meanwhile, consumers, consumer watchdog groups, and legislators are up in arms about the types and amounts of data being collected; and are questioning whether “good use” in the eye of a commercial or government beholder equals an unwarranted invasion of privacy of consumers and citizens. This SPIE report briefly discusses the patchwork of remedies that have been devised by governments and industries with the stated intent of protecting data privacy. It then presents approaches that may get to the heart of the matter through privacy solutions based not on industry action or government legislation, but on technology.

  • Introduction1
  • Attempts to Use Public Policy and Industry Self-control to Ensure Privacy
    • Privacy Laws Abound Worldwide
    • High-consumer-touch Industries Are Trying to Address Privacy by Self-regulating
    • A New Law Attempts to Protect Privacy by Ending US Government's Bulk Data Collection
  • These Measures Are Doing Almost Nothing to Alleviate Privacy Concerns
  • A Better Way Forward? Technological Solutions to Data Privacy Protection
    • Shortcomings of Existing Data Privacy Protection Measures
    • Harvard Data Privacy Lab: 100+ Projects; a Key Concept-and a Portal with a Point
    • What Differential Privacy is, and How It is Achieved
    • Harvard Provides another Example of Why Data Privacy Protection is So Crucial
    • LeapYear Offers a Commercial Differential Privacy Solution
  • The Last Word

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