Information & Communication Technology

Safeguarding Rights in the Big Data Revolution

Meeting Report, 04 August 2016

Image: Kts | Dreamstime.com

Reliance on technology has resulted in a data explosion. We create and release data about ourselves and our activities every minute of every day. Big data is a great enabler and has the potential to advance human rights. But there are also poignant questions to consider:

  • What do privacy rights mean in the age of big data, the internet of things and increased surveillance around the world?
  • How to protect other rights such as non-discrimination, freedom of association and freedom of expression?

This Wilton Park conference brought together international experts from a range of countries including Finland, Germany, Italy, India, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, UK and US, with backgrounds in international organisations, government, business, civil society and academia to discuss the challenges of safeguarding rights in the use of big data. The conference explored the opportunities and risks of big data in the ICT sector and beyond, including the practical steps business can take to ensure rights are respected.

Discussion included:

  • an exploration of the complexities of big data
  • the opportunities to help realise human rights 
  • the challenges data controllers face regarding ownership, consent, transparency, accountability and trust

The conference also explored the prospect of developing a set of human rights based principles in order to embed privacy considerations into company practice, particularly in the way data is collected, stored, processed and shared.

Download the conference report in the right-hand panel to catch up on the full discussion. 

Image: Kts | Dreamstime.com

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