Expertise: big data

Turning information into insights

What is big data?

Eva Visser

Big data is lots and lots of data, so much data of so many kinds that it used to be impossible to crunch. However, new processing tools can analyse this data, allowing companies to discover consumer patterns and predict future events and behaviour. This information allows everyone to make better, more informed, decisions and take targeted action.

What does this mean in terms of privacy?

Lieneke Viergever

While big data offers valuable opportunities for accumulating and using detailed user profiles, it also poses potential risks to personal privacy. Previously random data is turned into highly personal insights and information on individual behaviour. Therefore it’s important for consumer confidence to ensure big data is handled carefully at all times.

Do I always need consent from end users to analyse their data?

Eva Visser

Not always. When the processing of big data directly affects end users (e.g. when it concerns behavioural advertising, location-based advertising or tracking-based digital market research) consent will almost always be necessary. However, when big data is only used to detect trends and correlations, it may be enough to implement and maintain mitigation measures to limit the impact on user privacy.