Big Data, Bigger Problems?

Where Innovation and Citizen Safety Intersect: The Future of American Big Data Regulations

Reviewed by Chris Meyer
February 18, 2015

In her paper on the rise of information technology, Georgetown University undergraduate Haley Lepp discusses the responsibilities that come with harnessing the vast amounts of consumer data now available to government and corporations. Lepp begins with a brief overview of the ubiquity of information technology, citing a number of stunning statistics including an estimate that 90 percent of all known information has been produced in the last two years alone. However, she quickly moves on to the real crux of her paper, namely that the benefits of this data must be weighed against the privacy rights of citizens.

As Lepp writes in her paper, the aggregation of individual information can create a near-complete picture of an individual, including details about “health, religion, financial circumstances and relationships.” Therefore, Lepp advocates for the passage of a Consumer Bill of Rights, which failed on Capitol Hill in February of 2012 amid the fallout surrounding the Snowden leak scandal. This, she argues, would replace the myriad regulations that currently monitor data privacy, and implement an “overarching” legislative solution.

Although Lepp makes a convincing case for a Consumer Bill of Rights, her paper suffers from a lack of specificity as to what this legislation would entail. Future policy research on this front should confront the monitoring and enforcement obstacles that could stand in the way of truly efficacious privacy legislation.

See the full article here!

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