Home Editors' Picks How big data challenges privacy, and how science can help

How big data challenges privacy, and how science can help

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The collection of personal information has become broader and more threatening than anyone could have imagined. Our research finds traditional approaches to safeguarding privacy are stretched to the limit as thousands of data points are collected about us every day and maintained indefinitely by a host of technology platforms.

We can do better. Privacy is not the inevitable price of technology. Computer science research provides new methods that protect privacy much more effectively than traditional approaches.

And research practices in health and social sciences show that it possible to strike a good balance between individual privacy and beneficial public knowledge.

Micah Altman, Program on Information Science, MIT, and Alexandra Wood, Berkman Klein Center, Harvard University

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