This week, the White House Big Data and Privacy Working Group Review led by John Podesta published its findings. This highly readable analysis on the "social, economic, and technological revolution" serves as a very interesting state of play on Governing Big Data.
Part of it deals with the very obvious merits of Big Data for, notably, health care and the economy. No news there.
It gets interesting when the report tries to formulate a policy framework for management of Big Data - especially by signalling the threats associated with Big Data for citizens and consumers. It is somewhat reassuring to note that the most influential government of the world is aware of its potential for discrimination and a (potentially dangerous) readjustment of the relationship between the state and its citizens.
Also, privacy watchdog ACLU seems quite excited about its findings, which seems reassuring for those worried about if privacy as a concept would survive the information age.
However the policy recommendations are largely geared towards national solutions, such as protecting data gathered in the classroom for education purposes only.
There is still a lot of work to be done to come to efficient and legitimate policy frameworks, especially on a global level. Who are going to be involved in this process and which values are taking a primary stage in this regard? What will the relationship be between the creators of data (i.e. citizens and consumers) and those that use it (i.e. governments and corporations) for their own benefit?
These and many, many more questions remain unanswered. We can only conclude that the ramifications of the information age are only just beginning to dawn on us.
To be continued.