Big Data: A Tool for Inclusion or Exclusion? is a report published by Federal Trade Commission on January 2016, based on the information collected during a public workshop which was held on September 2014.
According to this report, four discrete phases can be identified during the transformation process of “little’ data to “big’ data: (1) collection; (2) compilation and consolidation; (3) analysis; and (4) use. Focused on the fourth stage of this process, this report tries to reveal possible risks that arise throughout big data analysis. Moreover, it is intended to provide suggestions to businesses aimed at maximizing the benefits and minimizing its risks.
Throughout the report, it is pointed out that big data analytics could work as an improvement tool for society, whereas in some cases this kind of analysis might negatively affect low-income and underserved populations. Companies are still in a learning process for understanding the ways in which they could explore big data, in order to unlock their potential and avoid any misleading results.
Workshop participants highlighted some of the main social benefits coming from big data analysis that has already been held. These include (a) increase in educational attainment for individual students; (b) access to credit using non-traditional methods; (c) healthcare provision tailored to individual patients’ characteristics; (d) specialized healthcare provision to disadvantaged communities; and (e) increase in equal access to employment.
Big data will continue to grow in importance, and it is undoubtedly improving the lives of underserved communities in areas such as education, health, local and state services, and employment. Our collective challenge is to make sure that big data analytics continue to provide benefits and opportunities to consumers while adhering to core consumer protection values and principles
Download the full report here.