Big Data has been saved
ME PoV Fall 2015 issue
Mining a national resource
The regulatory debate
Big Data usage, by private and public entities, is coming under increasing scrutiny from regulators and policy makers, with data privacy clearly top of mind in terms of key concerns. While there are limited instances of “Big Data regulation” internationally it has become an increasingly important theme for regulators within and without the Middle East region.
The challenge is twofold. First, how can the government leverage the massive amounts of data available within its different entities to deliver better service, formulate more predictive policies and reduce operational inefficiencies? Secondly, how can regulators set up a regulatory framework that will encourage usage of Big Data within the private sector and at the same time provide enough assurance for the citizens that their data is not being misused?
The stars are aligned – Big Data strategy to support the national vision
Globally, governments have started implementing Big Data programs, either as sectorial initiatives, or in some cases, as national plans. Eight broad themes and objectives seem common across the various programs we have surveyed:
- Sharing data sets among government institutions;
- Improving policy-making, service delivery and operational efficiency via the use of Big Data tools;
- Personalizing government services to the needs of citizens;
- Empowering citizens to make more informed decisions;
- Solving complex public policy issues via the analysis of large, multi-dimensional data sets;
- Promoting innovation via the emergence of new business models based on large government data sets;
- Reducing the transactional costs and redundant expenditures across government agencies; and more occasionally,
- Benefiting from Big and Open data to increase revenues (e.g. tax income.)