Intel Rallies Thought Leaders to Rethink Data Privacy to Spur Innovation

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Bigdata_privacyIntel Corporation recently convened thought leaders in technology, healthcare, education and smart cities industries to encourage action on data privacy issues. Malcolm Harkins, vice president and chief security and privacy officer for Intel, said that the potential to unlock revolutionary discoveries is at stake, and called on the industry to be more transparent and accountable when collecting and using consumer data.

During his keynote, Harkins highlighted the fact that we are experiencing the greatest era for innovation opportunity in history, largely as a result of increased computing, storage, and analytics capabilities associated with big data, but this also creates significant uncertainty and concern among people. He emphasized the importance of rethinking privacy to move beyond a “check-the-box” compliance obligation driven by legal to a business function driving innovation that is staffed for privacy engineering, architecture, and operations that will lead to greater trust among consumers.

Innovation will be hindered due to an underlying mistrust among people about what businesses know about them and how they’re using that information,” said Harkins. “If we want to spur innovation and realize the true potential of big data to solve the world’s greatest challenges, technology leaders and organizations have to assume responsibility for establishing transparent business practices, designing privacy-enhancing technologies, and encouraging legislation that helps instill trust.”

Harkins provided examples of areas where Intel is already making strides in privacy in its own operations and practices, including Intel® vProTM Technology, which helps address threat management, data protection and remote monitoring, the internal deployment of security business intelligence that enables early detection and mitigation for advanced threats, as well as the pilot deployment of sensors and analytics at an Intel plant in Malaysia. In closing, Harkins challenged the industry to be more transparent while also providing better security by establishing accountability in all aspects of the business, from producing products to instilling practices within the organization that deliver the appropriate level of security and privacy.

Survey: Lack of Understanding, Trust in Data Privacy 

A new survey of U.S. adults, conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of Intel, illustrates both a lack of understanding and an inherent distrust regarding how their data is used.

A majority of respondents (84 percent) believe that some kind of data about them or from their devices is being collected and sold to third parties. Nearly two-thirds of device owners in the survey admit they have no idea who has access to data from their devices or how it is used. In addition, half of Americans are unable to correctly identify the definition of “anonymized” data, underscoring that consumers lack awareness of how their data can be protected.

When given a specific benefit to sharing their data, respondents showed a significant willingness to share if their data were anonymized. Nearly 60 percent of device owners who are parents would be open to sharing their children’s anonymized educational data to improve graduation rates or school systems, and 57 percent of device owners would share health data (i.e., from fitness apps) to aid medical research as long as sensitive personal information was excluded. Millennial (ages 18-34) device owners are more inclined than their older counterparts to share their data when there is a direct benefit, but millennials also show greater concern with keeping their text messages (39 percent) and photos (31 percent) private than their health data (28 percent).

When considering emerging technologies, 45 percent of Americans say they are more concerned about privacy for wearable devices than they are about privacy for smartphones, tablets and PCs. Device owners show a willingness to explore privacy-related technologies, with more than half (53 percent) stating they would consider purchasing an app or service that allows them to choose what type of data their devices are automatically sharing and with which companies.

Industry Leaders Join the Discussion to Encourage Action

Intel was joined by Siemens, Personal, the creator of a virtual vault for individuals to easily and safely manage their digital information and identity; Sensity, a developer of light sensory networks; and TrustLayers, which develops automated data compliance tools for large data systems.

As we generate more and more social value from big data, it’s essential that consumer data is protected from misuse,” said Daniel Weitzner, former White House deputy chief technology officer for Internet Policy, now principal research scientist at MIT and co-founder of TrustLayers. “We can build systems today that allow confident use and analysis of personal data while providing strong transparency and accountability to detect and deter misuse. We’re looking forward to being a strong voice in the next stage of the data revolution.”

Leaders from the healthcare, education and smart cities industries joined the discussion including Privacy Analytics, which provides risk-based data anonymization methodologies, software and services for enabling sophisticated analytics while ensuring individual privacy; Knewton, which provides an infrastructure platform that allows others to build proficiency-based adaptive learning applications; and Streetline, a developer of sensor-enabled mobile and web applications that make parking easier, and cities more efficient.

Historically, critical data was being released in a trickle, if at all, due to privacy concerns. By addressing privacy using a defensible risk based approach, we are able to transform big data assets into useful, rich information for innovative analytics that benefit society,” said Nathalie Holmes, vice president of business development and marketing at Privacy Analytics. “This can enable amazing discoveries, such as the ability to improve the treatment and care of HIV patients and developing cancer ‘learning health systems’ where treatment and outcome data from every previous patient are used to inform treatment options for new patients at the bedside.”

To wrap up the day, Intel’s global privacy officer, David Hoffman, interviewed Walter Isaacson, best-selling author of Steve Jobs (2011) and The Innovators (2014) – released yesterday. “The Innovators should be required reading for every high school student. The book provides a roadmap for how to combine science and the humanities to solve the world’s largest challenges,” said Hoffman. “Big data will play a critical role in the next step in the evolution of computing. Whether big data is successful in solving those challenges will largely depend on whether we get the privacy issues right.”


This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Intel from September 17-19, 2014 among 2,018 adults ages 18 and older, among which 1,973 own a smartphone, tablet and/or personal computer. This online survey was not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error could be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Krystal Temple in Intel PR.


Sign up for the free insideBIGDATA newsletter.

Speak Your Mind