Neelie Kroes: Europe needs data protection, not data protectionism

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The digital revolution is now driven by data. The Economist and others have called “big data” the next industrial revolution, and for good reason.  The next generation of innovation in manufacturing, healthcare, academic research or public services will be possible because we find new ways to harness and learn from data. Just as machines started to augment or replace our muscle power 200 years ago, machine analysis can now also supplement our thinking.

With that opportunity to do more, make more and avoid more mistakes, why is so much of the world lurching into a fear-driven debate about personal data and online surveillance?

The answer is obvious. Big data is a challenge to our comfort zone. Today we produce more data every two days than all humans did up until 2000. The scale of online surveillance is greater than many people ever realized. And it is a surprise to learn that even allies spy on each other. In this respect, I understand people’s fears.

But let’s also be mature about data. Here to read more.

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