BRDI Big Data Symposium in DC (w/simultaneous webcast!)

The Board on Research Data and Information (in Washington D.C.) is holding a 2 1/2 hour symposium on Monday, September 23rd. Registration is free and open to the public. See below for more information:

“Big data” describes the phenomenon of an explosion in quantities of scientific data available for research. The term is also used to describe the vast increase in personal data available in a digital world. The enormous quantities of data are requiring new terms such as exabytes, zettabytes, and yottabytes, new methods of processing and storage, such as cloud computing, and additional broadband. Big data also implies new ways of thinking about data that emphasize their reuse and repurposing, and the recombination and aggregation of data from multiple sources; these are practices that are often in tension with traditional ideas about privacy and anonymity. Such developments offer unprecedented opportunities to realize scientific advances and economic growth – if we can sort out the right balances with privacy, and if legal and regulatory constraints do not become intractable barriers.

Data flow across boundaries for both scientific and commercial uses. There are several international and national efforts to enhance data privacy in a big data world, including revisions in the United States to the OECD 1980 Privacy Guidelines, the EU General Data Protection Regulation, and proposed revisions to the Common Rule for the Protection of Human Subjects. These activities impact access and use of data for a wide variety of research purposes. How can we provide adequate privacy protection for individuals without impeding research and innovation? How do these different regulatory approaches to privacy impact national and transnational research? Has society’s perspective on privacy evolved in a digital world, and how may it have to change further in the future?

This Symposium will explore current developments in these areas. The co-chair of the Board on Research Data and Information, Clifford Lynch of the Coalition on Networked Information, will lead the symposium discussion, beginning at 3 p.m. on Monday, September 23. The event will continue for 2 ½ hours in a mix of short presentations and discussion. The entire proceedings will be recorded and an audio-tape will be archived on the Board’s website. The meeting will be followed by a reception outside the Lecture Room.

The symposium is free and open to the public, but space is limited and advance registration by no later than noon on September 20 is required (contact: Cheryl Levey, clevey@nas.edu or call 202-334-1531).

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