At MIT, Mass. AG talks dangers, opportunities of big data - Boston Business Journal


At a data privacy forum held Thursday at MIT, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey talked about the dangers and opportunities of big data. Healey, at the morning event, said big data can both enable unfair business practices and perpetuate and facilitate abuse, while also helping legitimate business users. The goal of the forum, which featured data privacy experts and technologists ranging from Google and Facebook to Harvard and MIT, was to discuss the risks of big data to consumer privacy and what role state officials like Healey should have in addressing those problems, without hampering innovation. "We're concerned that big data can be used to engage in price discrimination and price steering, and ... the use of consumer data including location and Web browsing habits have been used to steer or even charge consumers more for the same product," Healey said. Healey said Massachusetts should be a leader in the big data sector, though she added she's advocating for policies and practices to "reflect and support that leadership."