The working group President Obama put together to review Big Data and how it affects everyday privacy is releasing a one-year progress report to detail the gains it’s made and what still lies ahead of it.
“As more data is collected, analyzed, and stored on both public and private systems, we must be vigilant in ensuring the balance of power is retained between government and citizens and between businesses and consumers,” wrote John Podesta, senior advisor and leader of the Big Data working group, on the White House’s blog.
As part of its progress, the working group made six actionable policy recommendations in May—one of which was to ensure that student data is used only for educational purposes. As part of its progress, the working group announced it will work with Congressional cosponsors on the Student Data Privacy Act, which would protect student data obtained in schools.
“We are confident that there will be strong bipartisan support to advance this legislation, protecting our kids’ privacy in school while continuing to embrace the innovative educational potential of new technologies to improve student outcomes,” Podesta wrote.
The working group also found that Big Data could lead to new forms of discrimination. The White House’s Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) conducted a study to see if companies offer different prices to different consumers based on Big Data technologies. The study found companies use Big Data for targeted marketing, and that policymakers should be aware of potential unfair pricing for services.
Gains were also made in legislation that would protect and alert consumers when a company undergoes a data breach; several efforts to understand how Big Data can lead to discriminatory outcomes and how to prevent them; and extending privacy protections.
“Big Data will continue to contribute to and shape our society, and the Obama Administration will continue working to ensure that government and civil society strive to harness the power of these technologies while protecting privacy and preventing harmful outcomes,” Podesta wrote.
The full progress report can be found here.