Sogeti trend lab VINT launches report on Big Data and Privacy

The third report in a Big Data four-part research program from technology consultancy Sogeti’s global trend lab VINT offers seven privacy recommendations for the management of large volumes of data.

London, UK, 12 April 2013

 Big Data, the enormous data expansion that is spreading in all respects, is the new oil. The increasing quantity of data is arriving from all kinds of sources; from traditional transactional data to sensors and RFID tags, social media, internet, clouds and mobile devices. VINT, Sogeti’s global trend lab, has just launched its third report on Big Data; Privacy, Technology and the Law.

Privacy, Technology and the Law addresses Privacy-by-Design, Privacy Enhancing Technologies, standardized regulations, and the security responsibilities of organizations that manage large volumes of personal data and use them for contacting members of society. According to the authors of the report, data-driven organizations should adopt adequate privacy regulations from the very start and share them proactively and simply with the consumers. Basically, it’s a question of design and technology. VINT offers seven recommendations for data-driven organizations in this report, which also marks the culmination of the third stage in a four-part program on Big Data.

The explosive growth of digitized personal data is enabling organizations to monitor and predict people’s behavior all the time, but Big Data and its applications are putting pressure on privacy. VINT contends that, with a good balance between corporate and individual interests, everyone can reap the benefits of Big Data.

“Personal data is the new currency. And any organization which accepts that currency must be one-hundred-percent transparent and able to protect it. It is not only consumers who are undereducated on the kind of privacy-sensitive information that is distilled from Big Data and the predictions that can be made with it. The same applies to organizations”, said Menno van Doorn, co-author of the Big Data privacy rapport and continued:

“When people realize the impact, they are shocked. Businesses and institutions must assume proper responsibility when dealing with Big Data. The process begins before the data is collected and processed, and by applying ‘privacy by design,’ the in-built protection of personal data from the very start. In that way, organizations can ask themselves exactly why they are collecting data. Should the smart meter of an energy provider collect data at one-second or at 15-second intervals? That makes a huge difference. Students at Munich University hacked into a smart meter to find out the kind of information you can distill from it. The fluctuations in energy consumption enabled them to discern which TV was on and even which TV program was being watched. This is an example in which the energy provider itself decides whether or not to collect such data.”

Avoiding Breaches of Privacy
When Using Personal Data At a time when personal data is the new lubricant in our economy the protection of privacy calls for adequate legislation. However, the current legislation falls short because it is being outpaced by technology. To complicate things further, any efforts to realize harmonization and uniformity will be seriously hampered by the differences between legal systems at regional and national level. VINT sets out seven recommendations that can help organizations and individuals to treat personal data in a responsible manner right now:

1. Privacy-by-Design: go to work proactively and preventively. Decide first on the conditions that the data collection and data use have to meet. Do not wait until you are sued for breach of privacy.

2. Make the privacy guarantee the default setting: individuals do not need to worry about protection of their privacy. Make sure that maximum privacy is guaranteed.

3. Integrate privacy in the design of IT systems: when business applications are being developed, make sure that privacy standards are part of the design and architecture from the start. Privacy is an essential component of the functionality of applications.

4. Full functionality in relation to privacy: embed legitimate privacy interests in the system functionality. Avoid false contradictions such as privacy versus security. Organizations must show that the two can co-exist.

5. End-to-end security across time: store all data securely at the end of a process or life-cycle or destroy them at a chosen time. Organizations must ensure that solutions are one-hundred percent infallible.

6. Transparency is key: it must be clear to all the stakeholders what exactly happens to personal data. Anyone who wants to check that out can do it easily, anywhere and anytime.

7. Treat the privacy of individuals with respect: organizations must ensure that the interaction with their stakeholders is good and explain clearly and simply what is happening at the right moment. This will help to build a relationship of trust.

These recommendations elaborate on the work of Ann Cavoukian, the Canadian Information and Privacy Commissioner and designer of the worldwide privacy-by-design concept.

Big Data Program
The third VINT report is part of a four-part research program on Big Data and has been co-authored by VINT trend watchers Jaap Bloem, Menno van Doorn, Sander Duivestein, Thomas van Manen and Erik van Ommeren. The Big Data report, Privacy, Technology and the Law, as well as its two predecessors, can be downloaded for free in the Sogeti online bookstore:

VINT is publishing the series of four research reports in order to place experience and visions in perspective and create clarity about the use of Big Data. The reports are independently compiled and contain concrete examples. A brief description of the four reports:

Report 1 – Creating Clarity with Big Data
This report (June 2012) defines Big Data and explains how it differs from other data classifications. It also elaborates on the possibilities of Big Data.

Report 2 – Big Social
The second report (November 2012) answers the question how organizations can predict people’s behavior with Big Data and social analytics.

Report 3 – Big Data & Privacy
The third report (published today) offers organizations guidance on the ground rules for privacy when using Big Data.

Report 4 – Big Data Business
Roadmap The fourth and last report focuses on the practical applications of Big Data. Publication is expected in May 2013.

The VINT research blog contains daily reports on Big Data trends and developments.

About Sogeti
Sogeti is a leading provider of professional technology services, specializing in Application Management, Infrastructure Management and High-Tech Engineering. Sogeti offers cutting-edge solutions around Testing, Business Intelligence, Mobility, Cloud and Security, combining world class methodologies and the global delivery model, Rightshore®. Sogeti brings together more than 20,000 professionals in 15 countries and is present in over 100 locations in Europe, the US and India. Sogeti is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cap Gemini S.A., listed on the Paris Stock Exchange. For more information please visit

About VINT
The Sogeti trend lab VINT (Vision - Inspiration - Navigation - Trends) founded in 1994 is a part of SogetiLabs, a network with Sogeti’s top technology leaders around the world, always have an eye on the horizon looking for evolutions driven by new technology. In recent years VINT did research into Open Source Innovation and Crowd Sourcing (2006), Social Media (2008), Crisis and Paradigm Shift (2010), The App Effect (2012) and The Connected Workforce (2013). VINT was set up in 1994 and to date has published more than 10 books and a large number of video productions. For more information please visit or

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