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Crosspost: How Big Data Challenges Privacy, and How Science Can Help

May 21, 2018 Leave a comment

This originally appeared in the Washington DC 100 May 8th edition . It was co-written with Alexandra Wood, at the Berkman Klein Center, and briefly summarizes our joint paper:

Micah Altman, Alexandra Wood, David R. O’Brien, and Urs Gasser, “Practical approaches to big data privacy over time,” International Data Privacy Law, Vol. 8, No. 1 (2018), https://doi.org/10.1093/idpl/ipx027.


 

The collection of personal information has become broader and more threatening than anyone could have imagined. Our research finds traditional approaches to safeguarding privacy are stretched to the limit as thousands of data points are collected about us every day and maintained indefinitely by a host of technology platforms.

We can do better. Privacy is not the inevitable price of technology. Computer science research provides new methods that protect privacy much more effectively than traditional approaches.

And research practices in health and social sciences show that it possible to strike a good balance between individual privacy and beneficial public knowledge.

 

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