Big Data, Big Legal Trouble?

Kim Walker | | December 1, 2013

Big data has a range of practical and commercial benefits to businesses but can be fraught with privacy and legal issues. With a projected global growth at a rate of 40% per year, raw digital data is a resource which many companies are turning to in their quest for market advantage.

While gathering information is a very costly exercise, requiring extensive storage facilities and a solid privacy compliance system, this has become the mission of some of the larger profile-based websites with an eye to the commercial value. 

Social platforms such as Google and LinkedIn have created a revenue stream from the data collected by supplying businesses, individuals and public institutions with an insight into the behavioural patterns of their target audiences.

Key issues around data protection and privacy can be addressed by making sure that data is anonymous, which will avoid having to tackle problems around the data subject’s consent. Guidelines from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) include a Code of Practice on Anonymisation, which is aimed at helping companies managing risk.