Big Data and privacy in a networked world: the perspective from technology assessment (TA)?

Author: Walter Peissl (Austrian Academy of Science)

Big Data is “the” buzz word nowadays. Big Data is supposed to do everything: organise traffic and prevent accidents, provide early warning for epidemics, and facilitate crime prevention. Prevention and forecast are the main directions of thinking with regard to Big Data. The inherent rationale:_Take all data available, scan, merge and interpret them, and thus shape the future/ decision making on the basis of existing (past) patterns. What does this imply for privacy and data protection?

This presentation will give an overview on issues arising with new technological developments and will present some insights from the interdisciplinary technology assessment arena. Approaches dealing with the upcoming conflicts between the fundamental right to privacy and new concepts like Big Data will be discussed. Among those, techno‐organisational solutions (privacy by design) as well as economic approaches (self‐regulation/ privacy seals) will be presented. The presentation is based inter alia on a large scale participatory assessment of criteria and factors determining acceptability and acceptance of security technologies in Europe. Therefore, it also addresses issues of legitimacy of techno‐ economic models, and democratic participation of the European citizenry.

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