A key aspect of the debate on Big Data is the potential for privacy breach by corporations, malicious individuals, and governments. Given the apparent tradeoff, but yet unexplored links between Big Data and Privacy, we will host a workshop sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop a forward-looking agenda for research on the legal, technological, social, behavioral, economic, and broader implications of Big Data and Privacy in academia, industry, and government. The purpose of this NSF workshop is to bring together experts in the domain of big data and privacy to develop a research agenda for better understanding and promoting privacy in an era of big data.

The NSF workshop aims to bring academia, industry, and government from multiple disciplines, such as legal, technological, social, behavioral, and economic sciences to discuss how to establish meaningful collaborations to undertake the research agenda. The NSF workshop will be structured around four main topics:

  • tradeoff between benefits of big data and privacy protection
  • legal, public policy and regulatory issues on privacy
  • privacy protection technologies
  • social, behavior and economics approaches to encouraging individual privacy protection

The NSF workshop will attempt to answer these questions by facilitating brainstorming among experts through invited talks, panel discussions, and group exercises.  These sessions will provide concrete directions for guiding future research on Big Data and privacy, which in turn will provide inputs both to technology design as well as public policy.

The research agenda will be disseminated broadly to academics, practitioners, and government officials to raise awareness of the importance of the tradeoff between big data and privacy and facilitate greater interest and collaboration among academia, industry, and government. The key points from the NSF workshop will be published in a white paper with the aim to advance a multi-disciplinary scientific inquiry on big data and privacy among academia, industry, and government. The NSF workshop will also guide curriculum development for courses related to Big Data and privacy in business, information and law schools.

Please read the detailed white paper about the Privacy in an Era of Big Data NSF Workshop