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Freedom Online Conference 2013: Privacy and data protection: the challenges of big data

17 Jun 2013

Professor Ian Brown discusses the ethics of data collection at the 2013 Freedom Online Conference on Privacy and Data Protection. While Brown argues that data should be collected in an ethically transparent manner, he emphasises that national courts should also determine whether data collection has been necessary and proportionate; he relates that the European system of data and privacy protection minimises the amount of personal data collected to only that which is necessary. As regards behavioural profiling in counterterrorism, Brown cites the findings of a US National Academy of Science study demonstrating that data mining by and large does not help identify potential terrorists. For this reason, Brown advocates for targeted rather than mass surveillance.