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BSA Urges Administration to Promote Big Data Innovation and Take Risk-Based Approach to Protecting Privacy

WASHINGTON, DC — April 1, 2014In public comments this week to the Obama Administration, BSA | The Software Alliance called attention to the tremendously positive impact big data is having across all sectors of the economy and urged the Administration to establish a policy framework to continue promoting this innovation.

BSA’s comments came in a filing to Deputy US Chief Technology Officer Nicole Wong as part of the Administration’s review of ways big data will affect how Americans live and work. (Click here to download the submission.)

“Big data is adding tremendous value to the US economy and society. Policymakers should seize the opportunity to continue fostering this innovation,” said BSA President and CEO Victoria Espinel. “That should entail taking a risk-based approach to privacy — with the most sensitive data getting the highest level of protection.”

“Data analytics are revolutionizing established industries, spawning new ones, and enabling breakthroughs in everything from medicine to energy efficiency and environmental sustainability. The benefits of these innovations are obvious,” Espinel said. “It is important to note that these innovations are occurring against the backdrop of an international conversation about data privacy and surveillance. But policymakers should avoid conflating government and commercial interests in data.”

“Privacy policies should take into account the context and relative risks involved in any exposure or misuse of data,” said Espinel. “That’s particularly important in the evolving big data environment, where the traditional focus on notice and consent fails to account for the ever-increasing size and scope of data sets.”

“As the Administration and Congress develop policies with respect to big data, we strongly recommend they also consider the impact on cross-border data flows, which are critical to trade in the digital age,” Espinel concluded. “The full rewards of big data will come from enabling the broadest possible economies of scale and ensuring that the benefits of big data accrue to the widest possible global audience.”

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BSA | The Software Alliance ( is the leading advocate for the global software industry before governments and in the international marketplace. Its members are among the world’s most innovative companies, creating software solutions that spark the economy and improve modern life. With headquarters in Washington, DC, and operations in more than 60 countries, BSA pioneers compliance programs that promote legal software use and advocates for public policies that foster technology innovation and drive growth in the digital economy.
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