How to make big data more secure, less creepy

As government agencies and big corporations alike look to embrace big data, they often find themselves struggling with security concerns, Peter Guerra, principal at Booz Allen Hamilton, said at Gigaom’s Structure Data conference in New York Wednesday. For governments, the biggest issue can be compliance rules and regulations. “There are literally laws on the book that say: Thou shalt not integrate two data sources,” he said.

But private enterprises struggle with some of the same issues, Guerra said, despite being less regulated. Sometimes security concerns aren’t about laws and rules at all. “There is a creepiness factor” when data that was previously shielded from access suddenly gets exposed, he argued.

The solution to these kinds of issues is partial visibility, Guerra told Tom Krazit, Gigaom executive editor. Instead of giving data scientists and others unfettered access across all data sources, corporations and government entities should tag data and define granular rules on who can access which kind of data under which condition — something that would them to steer and track data access.  “It gives them the ability to be almost like the GPS for data,” Guerra said.

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Photo by Jakub Mosur