As part of the White House’s ongoing review of “big data” and its implications for privacy, the economy, and public policy, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (“OSTP”) has announced that it is requesting comments from the public on several key issues.

OSTP’s Request for Information asks commenters to consider the following questions:

  1. What are the public policy implications of the collection, storage, analysis, and use of big data?  For example, do the current U.S. policy framework and privacy proposals for protecting consumer privacy and government use of data adequately address issues raised by big data analytics?
  2. What types of uses of big data could measurably improve outcomes or productivity with further government action, funding, or research?  What types of uses of big data raise the most public policy concerns?  Are there specific sectors or types of uses that should receive more government and/or public attention?
  3. What technological trends or key technologies will affect the collection, storage, analysis and use of big data?  Are there particularly promising technologies or new practices for safeguarding privacy while enabling effective uses of big data?
  4. How should the policy frameworks or regulations for handling big data differ between the government and the private sector?  Please be specific as to the type of entity and type of use (e.g., law enforcement, government services, commercial, academic research, etc.).
  5. What issues are raised by the use of big data across jurisdictions, such as the adequacy of current international laws, regulations, or norms?

The deadline for responses is March 31.  The full Request for Information, including details on submitting responses, is available here.


As we reported previously, OSTP is also co-hosting a series of three workshops focused on big data.  The first workshop in the series, titled “Big Data Privacy: Advancing the State of the Art in Technology and Practice,” took place on March 3 at MIT.  The webcast is available here.

OSTP has now announced the date of its second workshop, which will address the social, cultural, and ethical implications of big data.  The workshop will be held on March 17 at the NYU Law School will be co-hosted by NYU and the Data & Society Research Institute.  Details are available here.