There is no doubt that big data has already changed the world in a variety of ways. While companies cannot stop talking about this IT trend, private firms are far from the first ones to leverage the power that this technology has to offer. For some time now, government agencies have been pooling all kinds of information to help them carry out their responsibilities. Now that businesses have decided to adopt the practice of collecting and analyzing data in the hopes of making their functions more effective and their operations more efficient, the White House has recognized that there needs to be a set of regulations when it comes to how organizations use big data.
The government has reviewed the methods with which companies employ these solutions, as well as the ways in which big data is shaping the world. As a result, the government rendered findings in terms of the current use of this technology, in addition to coming up with recommendations for policies that would regulate its future implementation. All of the conclusions made over the course of this review was recently presented, and IT professionals could expect these findings to make an impact on how they can go about using these tech resources.
Government review revealed benefits of big data
John Podesta recently announced the outcomes of the big data review he conducted alongside a number of government officials. He explained that in the beginning of the year, President Barack Obama requested that an effort be made to explore how big data is being used and what this technology could mean for confidentiality. The White House took an interest in investigating this IT trend because it recognized how influential it could be in making major decisions, ultimately having a significant affect on the economic, political and social realms across the globe.
Podesta carried out this review in collaboration with Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, the President’s Economic Advisor Jeff Zients, the President’s Science Advisor John Holdren and a team of other high-ranking political officials. They spent three months conducting research to understand what big data is and why it is so revolutionary. At the same time, these government representatives aimed to explore the relationship between this form of IT and the privacy of the American public, which has long been a top right to protect.
After evaluating big data use throughout the U.S., officials overseeing this review announced that the benefits of this IT trend are undeniable. This technology is unlike any other. Government organizations, philanthropic entities and for-profit corporations can all overhaul their operations by accessing and analyzing troves of information, performing essential tasks faster and more effectively.
“There are a few technological trends that bear drawing out,” Podesta said in his announcement. “The declining cost of collection, storage and processing of data, combined with new sources of data like sensors, cameras and geospatial technologies, mean that we live in a world of near-ubiquitous data collection. All this data is being crunched at a speed that is increasingly approaching real-time, meaning that big data algorithms could soon have immediate effects on decisions being made about our lives.”
“The big data revolution presents incredible opportunities in virtually every sector of the economy and every corner of society,” he added.
Privacy protection to be a group effort
There are still concerns when it comes to the kinds of information that IT professionals – whether they be affiliated with public or private organizations – can access during their big data efforts. As is the case with any other type of advancement, ethical questions abound, and members of the public want to make sure that personal information is not being picked apart by agencies or companies in the name of big data.
While officials have not made any decisions about the exact boundaries in terms of which information is up for grabs and which is off-limits, there has been ample discussion about the measures that can be taken to secure sensitive data. Additionally, the government has already affirmed that investment in the development of IT that could protect private information is necessary.
“While there are risks to privacy that come with the promise of big data, there is also extraordinary potential in privacy protecting technologies,” Pritzker explained in a statement. “We also call for investment in these privacy-protecting technologies and R&D, which can only help us harness the potential for Big Data, while also protecting our core values. At the same time, our National Institute of Standards and Technology – one of the crown jewels of our government – will help support our public-private efforts on technical standards and research in this area.”
Pritzker asserted that moving forward, all parties having some kind of stakes in big data should be open to discussing the issues posed by this advancement so they can hash everything out and come up with solutions. This means that government agencies, companies and members of the general public have to be actively engaged and voice any opinions or concerns they may have with regards to this IT trend.
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