On attending “Big Data and Security in Europe Challenges and Opportunities”

On Tuesday, January 21st 2014 we attended the conference: “Big Data and Security in Europe Challenges and Opportunities” in Brussels, organised by Professor Louise Amoore and Dr. Volha Piotukh of Durham University.   The discussions that took place focused mainly on the unique challenges and opportunities that big data represents for Europeans.  Some of the key questions that were asked included: i) Can data on ordinary daily transactions reveal nascent security threats? ii) What role, if any, can ‘big data’ and ‘big data analytics’ play in securing Europe and Europeans? iii) What are the implications of the reliance on new forms of data analysis within the security domain? While our research does not focus specifically on issues relating to security, it is still important to think through those ‘implications’ that are evoked whenever a discussion around big data arise. If there is anything that Edward Snowden has taught us, it is that innovation in data analytics has spread far beyond the State into the very fabric of networked communicative practices.  For the young people that we will be working with, how will such transformations in the way social data are accumulated and rendered usable effect how they conceptualise their own privacy? Is data surveillance becoming normalised? Or, have all of these recent revelations had a politicising effect, reinforcing the need now more then ever for the ‘Right to be Forgotten’?

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