Big data ‘not a game played by different rules’ states the ICO

Posted On 10 Jun 2014
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The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has set out how big data can” and must” operate within data protection law. The regulator’s latest report outlines that operating within the law should not be seen as a barrier to innovation. Big data is a way of analysing data that typically uses massive datasets, brings together data from different sources and can analyse the data in real time. It often uses personal data, be that looking at broad trends in aggregated sets of data or creating detailed profiles in relation to individuals (for example, around lending or insurance decisions). The ICO’s report sets out how the law applies when big data uses personal information. It details which aspects of the law organisations need to consider in particular, and highlights that organisations can stay the right side of the law and still innovate. Buzz around big data Announcing the publication of the report Steve Wood, the ICO’s head of policy delivery, said:” There is a buzz around big data and emerging evidence of its economic and social benefits. However, we’ve seen a lot of organisations who are raising questions about how they can innovate to find these benefits and still comply with the law. Individuals are also showing they’re concerned about how their data is being used and shared in big data-type scenarios.” Wood continued:” What we’re saying in this report is that many of the challenges of compliance can be overcome by companies being open about what they’re doing. Organisations need to think of innovative ways to tell customers what they want to do and what they’re hoping to achieve. Not only does that go a long way towards complying with the law, but there are also benefits from being seen as responsible custodians of data.” The ICO’s report addresses concerns raised by some commentators that current data protection law doesn’t fit with big data. ” Big data can work within the established data protection principles,” said Wood.” The basic data protection principles already established in UK and EU law are flexible enough to cover big data. Applying those principles involves asking all the questions that anyone undertaking big data ought to be asking. Big data is not a game that is played by different rules. The principles are still fit for purpose, but organisations need to innovate when applying them.”

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.