White House & MIT release reports on big data and privacy

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The White House and the MIT both separately released reports on big data and privacy this past week.

The White House report stemmed from a 90-day review undertaken by White Counselor John Podesta that included a day-long workshop hosted by the MIT Big Data Initiative at CSAIL.

In discussing the report, The New York Times referenced CSAIL researcher John Guttag's work related to big data in health care:

 
"Mr. Podesta and his team note that such data can be incredibly useful. To take one example, careful analysis of the voluminous health records collected by hospitals and doctors’ offices could help identify the spread of infectious diseases.”

 

"...given the rapid advance of technology and increasingly numerous sources of information, the report says, policy may have to adjust the old approach to privacy protection: Rather than putting the emphasis only on when information can be collected, government and industry might focus on when certain sorts of information can be used and by whom. Congress should take up the discussion.”

The MIT report is available on the WH-MIT Big Data Privacy Workshop webpage.