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The Big Data Issue: Think Tank Calls For New Office Of Responsibility

The Big Data Issue: Think Tank Calls For New Office Of Responsibility
Date: 15th January 2015

by Shannon Greenhalgh

Think-tank Policy Exchange is calling for a new body to assist the Information Commissioner's Office in handling public data due to vast increases of information being held and the emergence of Big Data, IT Pro reported on Tuesday.

The proposed Office of Data Responsibility would help build British citizens' trust in public bodies that use their data; at present there's a huge difference in people's attitudes to firms using their data and public bodies using their data, said Eddie Copeland, Policy Exchange's head of technology.

For example the NHS's care.data scheme, under which patient data will be shared between GP surgeries and hospitals, was met with strong opposition. The failed implementation of a national ID cards scheme under former Prime Minister Gordon Brown is another case in point which shows public mistrust in the handling of data by public bodies.

The new government-established body would be dedicated to Big Data issues and should draw up a code of ethics for analytics, said Copeland: "We need an Office of Data Responsibility like we have an Office of Budget Responsibility. I don't think the ICO alone is enough for what we're trying to do with Big Data now."

"And we need a code of responsible data analytics for the public sector," he added.

Copeland also proposed individual data stores for citizens where they can keep their personal information secure.

Policy Exchange will publish a paper on the issue later this month.


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