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The dangers of 'Big Data' | Data Protection Lawyer

The dangers of 'Big Data' | Data Protection Lawyer

The next generation internet known as the IOT [the 'Internet of Things' ] heralds an explosion in the amount of material that will be held on us all, known as big data. The development of the new technology includes research and development of new systems to deal with the security and data protection challenges that will arise. But the vultures are already begining to circle as the value of the new data becomes apparent.

The main European example of such a platform is the EU backed FI-Star project [Future Internet Social and Technological Alignment Research] is leading the way in developing a 'reverse' cloud approach to bring software to the data to build an 'ecosystem' of user groups  in the global healthcare domain.

In an article entitled 'The Appliance of Science' in The Actuary, the magazine of the Actuarial profession dated 7th August 2014, Oliver Werneyer asks whether Actuaries can master the power of new technologies. [See earlier article on this blog dated 18 January 2012]  

The full article can be read by following this link.

In summary, Mr Werneyer talks about the partnership between technology and services that enable useres to track aspects of their activity and health and centrally store this data. Examples given include HealthKit by Apple and Samsung's Sami services. Telematics are already being used by in the motor insurance industry with medical insurers using loyalty programmes to integrate the activity data into the insurance products.

The issue is important as life actuarties may wish to monitor human behaviour and integrate this policyholder information into new products and philosophies. The information includes:

  • Sleep analysis with links to phychological and health concerns
  • Weight tracking
  • Body measurements
  • Activity information
  • Dietry profile.

The new wearable technology can provide information in miliseconds and API's (application programming interfaces allow third parties to extract the information once the customer enters his/her account credentials similar to opening an account on Facebook.

An example is given in the article of the use of BMI (body mass index) information. As such can be uploaded daily, it will be possible to work out if an obese patient is losing or gaining weight which could influence premiums being offered on various policies when combined with activity data.

The effects are vast. As the author says.

The possibilities for innovation are huge for those brave enough and entrepreneurial enough to explore the opportunities. Unfortunately, to solve the challenges that actuaries face will require equal amounts of both attributes, but it is certainly possible.

There is also appetite in the market for new products (behaviourally assessed, individually monitored), underwriting philosophies (perpetual underwriting, probational underwriting) or risk assessment and management tools. We also need actuaries to develop new ways of thinking, to look at new data sources and to look at data differently. But, most importantly, we need actuaries who need to be challenged by change and inspired by other industries that have embraced these new data sources and technologies. Here’s to the future of the life industry and the role that actuaries can play in that future.

THE FI STAR project

The FI - STAR project - [Future Internet Social and Technological Alignement Reseach] has built a community that aims to promote collaboration between Healthcare Providers and Innovators focused on solving challenges in the European healthcare sector. 

The project is part of the FI - PPP project  [Future Internet Public Private Partnership ] and has used a reverse cloud based approach to build Generic Enablers that will build an ecosystem of users in the Global Healthcare domain. The project offerins to the community standardised and certified software including a safe, secure and resilient platform, taking advantage of all Cloud Computing benefits and guaranteeing the protection of sensitive and personal data travelling in Public Clouds.

The project received funding from the EU s Seventh Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement No 604691 and is about to enter into its third phase.

Click here for a video that explains details of the FI Star platform and its inter relationship with the sector specific implementations.

Creation of a sustainable innovation ecosystem around FI-WARE is materialized through FI-Lab, a working instance of FI-WARE enabling free experimentation with the technology.   FI-Lab is a place where application sponsors (application customers, public administrations, investors) and application developers as well as web entrepreneurs (individuals, SMEs and other companies) can meet each other.  A genuine meeting point for innovation on the Internet.

FI- WARE is an innovative open cloud - based infrastructure for cost effective creation and delivery of Future Internet applications and services, at a scale not seen before. FI- WARE API specifications are public and royalty free, driven by the development of an open source reference implementation which accelerates the availability of commercial products and services based on FI-WARE technologies.


For any advice and assistance for issues like these please do call Jeremy on 0844 2722322 or submit a comment below. Jeremy will come back to you at the earliest convenience.

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