The New York Times reports on yesterday’s MIT- and White House-sponsored workshop “Big Data Privacy” and what all that data gathering and use means for average individuals’ privacy rights. The event is part of the White House’s recently announced review of privacy and big data. The Times reports:
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — With the success of its free open online course system, called MITx, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology finds itself sitting on a wealth of student data that researchers might use to compare the efficacy of virtual teaching methods, and perhaps advance the field of Web-based instruction. [...]
As researchers contemplate mining the students’ details, however, the university is grappling with ethical issues raised by the collection and analysis of these huge data sets, known familiarly as Big Data, said L. Rafael Reif, the president of M.I.T.
For instance, he said, serious privacy breaches could hypothetically occur if someone were to correlate the personal forum postings of online students with institutional records that the university had de-identified for research purposes. [...] Read more »