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Privacy Law

IAPP Westin Research Center

The OECD Heralds the Arrival of the Privacy Profession

For anyone following the field of privacy policymaking, the past two years have seen a flurry of activity unsurpassed in any other legal arena. Fittingly, the first reform process to come to fruition is that of the OECD Privacy Guidelines, which date back to 1980 and contain the first internationally agreed upon iteration of the now ubiquitous Fair Information Privacy Principles (FIPPs). Together with the expected result of the major reform processes in the U.S. and EU, the revised guidelines, which will be launched on the OECD website today, are set to become the second generation of information privacy laws. As such, it is important to assess what has changed since their inception more than 30 years ago.

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Research

IAPP Westin Research Center

Privacy and Big Data: The Biggest Public Policy Challenge of Our Time?

Imagine the government could reduce the likelihood of a deadly terrorist attack by deploying a sophisticated algorithm to sift through the contents of all email correspondence of US citizens. Would the tradeoff of privacy for national security be justified from a public policy point of view? Would it make a difference whether such big data analysis helped avert one such attack per decade or two per year? What about if the database included not email contents but only “to/from” and “subject line” routing information? These questions and others have been hurled to the forefront of public debate by the recent revelations about the scope of NSA surveillance. Yet the benefits of big data – powerful new ways to collect, analyze and store massive amounts of information – exceed the realm of national security or even government usage and extend to areas such as scientific research, public health and energy conservation by the private sector.

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opinion

IAPP Westin Research Center

Open Source Data: Big Data for All

Think about it: Wouldn’t you love to know everything your cellphone knows?

I mean, not just the stuff about the universe—like the distance between Des Moines and Billings or the weather in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia—but also information about you. Like the time you wake up in the morning, your movements around town, when and where you tend to get stuck in traffic, how much exercise you are getting, what you are eating, your online clickstream, social networking activities, communications, contacts, calendar and more. If only you could tap into this information, analyze it and draw useful conclusions, you could no doubt improve your effectiveness and quality of life.

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