The British Computer Society (BCS) believes that organisations need to lead the way in setting security standards when dealing with large amounts of personal data. The suggestion is just one of a number of recommendations to have emerged from a white paper, entitled Privacy vs Intelligence: Managing the tension in the era of big data, commissioned by the Institute.
The paper focuses on the pressures organisations are faced with when finding the right balance in how they manage data, providing the flexibility for people to set their own boundaries on how much information they are ready to provide.
Adam Thilthorpe, Director of Professionalism, BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, says: “Captured data is a valuable resource that can benefit both organisations and individuals; providing more personalised services and making businesses more efficient. However, it is vital that organisations respect the privacy of individuals and treat personal data with the same level of security as they would any other valuable asset. As more and more data is collected, organisations will need to regularly evaluate how they deal with that information and make sure they are open and transparent with their customers to ensure continued trust."
The whitepaper also considers how those working in IT manage the conflict and suggests four areas where skills need to be developed: refreshing data and consent; the appreciation of context in the use of information; carrying out privacy impact assessments; and developing the mechanisms to simplify consent.
Adam Thilthorpe continues: “CIOs will need to ensure that their teams have the right skills to manage the tensions between information and privacy. First and foremost, providing excellent customer service and respecting people’s personal information is key to success for any savvy organisation.”
The white paper is broken into a number of sections: Personal information and big data; The benefits of big data; The risks of big data; Public concerns; Data Protection Act; Strategies; Skills; Personal data stores; and The long term. This is part of a wider campaign by BCS, focusing on how organisations manage data and supporting best practice which includes: a video debate hosted by the Institute, blogs and additional articles.