Robert Madelin, a senior EU official, who has a background in big data, believes that it's here to stay and that we can't escape it. As he told EurActiv, "I think data and the free flow of data, which is the goal of the Digital Single Market, is a big new vision.”
He admits that not all data is personal or private. Data can be anonymized or be a-personal. He cites as examples, data from sensors on a road bridge or from the next generation of Eiffel Towers.
When data is personal, however, it will be regulated by the EU and monitored on a case by case basis. The technology should make it easier for people to control their data piece by piece.
Madelin does not think that we should go "sectoral" with data. He believes that health data should be available and that it is not a disruption of personal privacy especially if it can help others. He believes that "limits could be placed on insurance premium variation. Or social provisions could be increased to help cover the extra insurance cost that the market will not provide for certain individuals."
Madelin's next task is to produce a report on innovation by summer 2016. It's quite comprehensive and he will be mapping activities that are already happening, looking for potential gaps in activity, and finding ways to build bridges between the two.
The content of the report won't be made public which is unfortunate. However, big data is not losing its impact in the marketplace. It is only building and getting bigger in ways we may not have anticipated and not just in the EU. It does affect us in the US as well.
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