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Could new data laws end up bankrupting your company?

What is the impact of disconnected data? How can we ensure innovation is within legal frameworks? Do you know what the brain’s wiring look like?

All included in this week’s curated data digest below. 👇

Could new data laws end up bankrupting your company? Matthew Wall, Technology of Business editor for BBC News, provides an EXCELLENT overview on why we should all care about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Simply put, GDPR will mean that:

Organisations need to keep records of all personal data, be able to prove that consent was given, show where the data’s going, what it’s being used for, and how it’s being protected.

However, according to EMW Law, only 29% of UK businesses have begun preparing for the change, “a shocking figure, as on average organisations need 12–15 months to prepare”. The consequence? Consult Hyperion have predicted that banks alone will be fined €4.7 billion over the first three years (from May 2018).

Furthermore, the new regulation will make it mandatory for organisations to report all data breaches within 72 hours — basically the opposite of how the AA exposed emails, credit card data and then didn’t even inform customers.

GDPR will also change the way organisations can share data. As explained by Anthony Lee, a partner in law firm DMH Stallard, companies may be over-looking the effects:

If you want to share data with a third party you must show that the sub-contractors will keep that data safe and private. That’s a big problem because most subcontractor contracts don’t have these clauses in them. Organisations need to start renegotiating these contracts now.

What is the impact of disconnected data? SnapLogic published a research report which claims that disconnected data is stifling innovation and costing organisations $140 billion each year. Furthermore:

  • Nearly three quarters (72%) of respondents feel that their organisation is missing out on opportunities as a result of disconnected data.
  • Forty-six percent (46%) also state that disconnected data is impacting their ability to engage, support, and meet the needs of customers.
  • Data silos and ineffective collaboration are to blame. Over half (56%) feel that these silos are building barriers between them and their business objectives.

Earlier this week, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) ruled that the Royal Free hospital broke the law when it gifted 1.6 million patient-identifiable records to Google’s DeepMind. The ICO view Royal Free as the “data controller” — making the hospital responsible for ensuring all data processing is in accordance with data protection laws.

Crucially — as put by the Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, “it’s not a choice between privacy and innovation” and the legal breaches “were avoidable”. Dame Fiona Caldicott, the National Data Guardian, iterates Denham’s reasoning and calls for innovation within legal frameworks:

I’m afraid that a laudable aim — in this case developing and testing life-saving technology — is not enough legally to allow the sharing of data that identifies people without asking them first. We need to reassure the public there are always strong safeguards in place to make sure that confidential information will only ever be used transparently, safely and in line with the law and regulatory framework.

In a blog post, DeepMind explained their perspective — ending on the note that their “most important challenge” is getting the “ethics, accountability and engagement right”, so new technologies can have an “incredibly positive social impact”.

England’s Chief Medical Officer, Prof Dame Sally Davies, called for a gene testing revolution — so NHS care can be tailored based on the individual’s unique genetic code. IMPORTANTLY — Dame Sally stated that patients need to allow the use of their data — “in order to get the best diagnosis and therefore the best treatment”.

Whilst speaking to BBC Radio Four’s Today programme on Tuesday, Phil Booth (from MedConfidential) pointed out that “every single use of patient data must be consensual, safe and transparent” — and patients must have the option to opt-out.

Lastly, writing for Datanami, Alex Woodie explores the obstacles around data integration and privacy. Most notably, Woodle quotes Michael Stonebraker, adjunct professor at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and the 2014 winner of the Turing Award:

Imagine this simple example: you show up at your doctor’s office and have an x-ray done and you want the doctor to run a query that shows who else has x-rays that look like yours, what was their diagnosis and what was the morbidity of the patients. That requires integrating essentially the country’s entire online medical databases and presumably would extend to multiple countries as well.
While that is a daunting data integration challenge, because every hospital chain stores its data with different formats, different encodings for common terms, etc., the social value gained from solving it is just huge.

Definite food for thought!


Will the next battle in antitrust be about whether one company knows everything about you? 🔮

Interesting report on the state of the UK GovTech market — nice to see Cognitive Logic mentioned in top 100 startups! 🚀

What does the brain’s wiring look like? 💎

Firefox marketing declared war on Chrome. ⚔

Big data or Pokemon? Nice gimmick. 😅

Space, time and groceries! Another great blog post by Instacart — explaining how data visualisations (like the one below) help them “build intuition about our system, generate hypotheses for improvements, sanity check our changes, identify best practices and improve our operations”. (Image above). 🥑

Enjoy reading this? Join my weekly data digest. 💌

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