The UK Government has admitted that it needs to do more to protect personal data collected by research enterprises and services, and it has outlined a new Council of Data Ethics initiative that will aim to establish an “ethical framework for Government data science.”
The Government has decided against introducing criminal penalties for third parties who are guilty of serious data breaches. It has instead opted for a solution that it refers to as a “stress test” review, which covers existing sanctions, while it waits for the new EU Data Protection Regulation to come into force.
The growing mass of Big Data can offer huge opportunities for enterprises in the digital age, especially in terms of informing content marketing decisions and other critical business activities, but the Government believes that a balance is required in order to mitigate the risks involved with personal data.
The Government has been responding solely to concerns outlined by the Science and Technology Select Committee earlier this year. The Chair of the Committee, Nicola Blackwood MP, said in April that it was the right time for the Administration to step in and take a closer look at the growing ethical and legal challenges posed by data as well as determine how to balance aspects such as security and privacy.
“Big Data has enormous potential to improve public services and business productivity, but there are also justified privacy concerns when personal data is used in new applications, services and research,” Ms Blackwood said. “Getting the balance between the benefits and the risks right is vital.”
User trust will also play a huge role in the success of IoT applications and devices that offer easy access to sensitive information. A recent MEF Global Consumer Survey showed that 60 per cent of the general public are worried about Internet-connected devices, with one in five seeing no benefits to the level of connectivity.