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Of course, without the appropriate precaution, there are risks to data collection and usage. Both enterprises and governments must think strategically about providing privacy and security protections that ensure data is used, not abused. Indeed, many online companies have already implemented proactive privacy policies to protect user data, just as most banks have rigorous anti-fraud measures in place. This balanced approach will enable data-driven innovation to effectively serve our citizens and our economy.
Just this month, the National Institute of Standards and Technology teamed up with the University of Maryland for a forum on how data can help address our national priorities. Big names from both the public and private sectors — Google, the National Institutes of Health, Lockheed Martin — were there to hear about how data can benefit the fields of health care, disaster management, security and finance.
Policymakers have a role in ensuring that this conversation stays focused on benefiting consumers and the broader economy. They should beware, however, of regulatory overreach. Any attempt to impose a fixed regulatory framework on an information technology marketplace that continues to evolve and innovate every day will hurt the consumers. Policymakers must work toward a more considered policy approach that seeks to safeguard consumers while unleashing the enormous opportunities that the data revolution is creating.
Ken Wasch is president of the Software & Information Industry Association.