Definitions are the main problem in big data regulation

12.02.2019

On February 12, the Big Data and Users’ Data Protection parliamentary hearings organized by the State Duma Committee on Information Policy, Information Technology and Communications were held at the State Duma. The participants discussed issues related to defining big data, differentiating between big data and personal data, and clarifying their accessibility and confidentiality. They also considered the possible commercial use of information blocks.

The hearings were attended by Director of the Coordination Center for TLD .RU/.РФ Andrei Vorobyov, who presented the extensive work carried out by the Big Data Working Group that operated under the Coordination Center in 2016–2017. The working group united over 70 representatives of the largest Russian internet companies such as communications operators, providers of content and cloud services and operators of bank, logistics and other services. The working group’s task was to develop industry recommendations for legislators who work on big data laws.

During its work, the group found that definitions were the main problem in big data regulation. Big data are often confused with personal data, which results in stricter, often ungrounded, demands for data operators. The working group suggested a different approach that would allow separating personal data from all other user data.

Following their work, the group prepared a report with recommendations on processing big data that still remain topical. For example, the report points out that data that allows for identifying individuals uniquely (which means they are personal data) must be processed first, as well as data concerning exceptional interests of the state.

“I believe that the report I used for my presentation reflects what the entire industry thinks. We managed to involve reputable and well-known experts who represented various companies in our working group’s activities, which gives the recommendations more weight. We can see consolidated conclusions, and I hope that the legislators will take into account,” Andrei Vorobyov concluded.