On Thursday, May 2, 2013, Seyfarth partner Robert Milligan will participate in a panel at this year’s ITechLaw World Technology Law Conference & Annual Meeting to discuss the hot new field of “Big Data” and the incumbent privacy issues.

Big Data involves the management and analysis of increasingly large and complex amounts of data. The rapidly accumulating and torrential amount of data produced every second from social media, mobile devices, and everyday transactions have fueled the rise of this revolution. The ability to analyze this wealth of information has allowed companies in a wide range of industries to make better real-time decisions and more accurate predictions in their daily business dealings.

Robert will discuss how this exciting new phenomenon has already shifted certain traditional ways of thinking in many industries, including retail, government, education, finance, insurance, and healthcare. For example, some companies are using Big Data to identify and address issues within their organization to lower their insurance premiums. In particular, companies may analyze their internal complaints to discover whether the frequency or nature of certain complaints is correlated with a certain department, geographic region, employee position, or major event. The companies then focus their resources and efforts to address these areas and reduce the likelihood of future issues. Accordingly, the companies cite these proactive activities to support their requests for lower insurance premiums or other cost savings.

For example, through its Big Data analytics, Google demonstrated through its Flu Trends website that it can effectively monitor and track in real-time the outbreak of the flu by analyzing its billions of Internet search queries (not just a sample) for flu related keywords. Google has shown to predict flu outbreaks faster, more accurately, and with more location details than the Center for Disease Control.

Robert will further discuss that with the well-recognized benefits and the increased collection of personal and consumer information, there are incumbent risks to privacy. The data minimization and the current notice and consent privacy framework, however, is ill-suited to capture the benefits of Big Data, which derives the most value from the secondary use of data that was initially unimaginable. Further, anonymization and other methods of removing identifiable information may not effectively protect privacy in Big Data. Companies that embrace this new phenomena and venture into the Big Data realm must be careful and thoughtful to navigate the current privacy framework.

Please see Robert and Joshua Salinas’ paper entitled “The Big Data Revolution: Should The Internet Learn To Forget?

Additionally, Seyfarth attorneys Yandie Fashu-Kanu and Joshua Salinas will be presenting at the IP Committee meeting on Hot Topics in US IP Law on May 1st.

The ITechLaw 2013 World Technology Law Conference & Annual Meeting features sessions led by speakers from around the world, which will focus on bringing attendees up to speed on the newest technology law developments and their application to business.

You can find more information about the conference here. If you are attending the conference, please visit our Seyfarth booth. Look forward to seeing you there.