NEWS11 January 2016

FTC warns against misuse of big data analytics

Data analytics News North America Privacy

US — The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has warned that the misuse of big data analytics "may harm consumers". 


The FTC has released a report, Big Data: A Tool for Inclusion or Exclusion? Understanding the Issuesoutlining a number of questions for businesses to consider in order to ensure that their use of big data analytics avoids outcomes that could be considered exclusionary or discriminatory. 

“Big data’s role is growing in nearly every area of business, affecting millions of consumers in concrete ways,” said FTC chairwoman Edith Ramirez. “The potential benefits to consumers are significant, but businesses must ensure that their big data use does not lead to harmful exclusion or discrimination.”

The report looks in particular at big data at the end of its lifecycle – i.e. how it is used after being collected and analysed. It highlights innovative uses of big data that provide benefits to underserved populations, including increased educational attainment and better access to employment. But it also looks at potential risks that could result from biases or inaccuracies about certain groups, including creating or reinforcing existing disparities, exposing sensitive information and assisting in the targeting of vulnerable consumers for fraud.