Big data, generally speaking, refers to the ability to collect and analyze large amounts of data generated through an individual’s interaction with the world via technology. This data may come from ones use of the internet, such as a search engine, use of cell phones or other mobile devices, including geographic location, and any other data source that can reveal individual choices and selections when it comes to browsing, surfing, purchasing, or other connection activity. How big data is collected, analyzed, used, and stored are all items that individuals and companies should be aware of. A data privacy attorney with experience in internet law issues must understand big data.
One of the most important aspects of understanding big data is a determination of ownership of that data. While privacy policies, as well as other agreements between data collectors and data providers, can dictate ownership of data, the initial determination of who owns the data is critically important in any dispute involving big data. Often times, one company may collect and may initially own certain big data, which may include person-identifiable information, and then license that data to a third party. That third party may use the data or, in turn, may itself license it to another third-party. Regardless of ownership, how data can be used by third parties is extremely important when drafting agreements dealing with big data.
As a big data owner, it is important that the necessary disclosures are made for the purchase or collection of that data. Similarly, a third-party user who may license that from another owner needs to understand how that data was collected so as to ensure that it will not risk legal and financial liability in the event of a breach of user data or privacy. Although the buzz word “big data” seems to be predominating the internet and other news medium, understanding how big data may be used, regardless of ownership, is critically important for any data privacy attorney and internet lawyer.
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