The importance of big data to the United Kingdom was confirmed in 2012 when the government recognized it as one of the Eight Great Technologies vital to the economic and social future of the UK.
Big data is a catalyst for economic growth, a key tool in achieving long term productivity, essential for job creation and vital to maintaining the UK's global position as a digital society.
The UK has a fantastic opportunity to be a world-leader in big data, and is making steady progress. However, we must do more to highlight the social and economic opportunities and mitigate risks facing the development of big data technologies in the UK.
Big Data, Privacy and the Public Trust
To successfully unlock the value of big data, we must improve public trust in how their personal data is collected, stored and used, particularly given the growing cyber threat.
Having in place a legal framework that allows for business innovation while also protecting personal information is crucial. The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in development in the European Commission has the potential to underpin consumer trust and confidence. However, if European policy-makers do not properly consider certain aspects, this could have a chilling effect on the growth of big data industries in Europe.
The potential for big data is huge. The Centre for Economics & Business Research estimated that by 2017 Big Data could contribute £216 billion and generate 58,000 new jobs in the UK and Ireland. We must get it right.