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December 2015, Volume 3, Number 6

The fine line between IoT data collection and privacy

When the Lifelog architecture development and analytics team at Sony Mobile Communications set up a program for capturing and analyzing data from wearable devices linked to the activity tracking app, their biggest challenge wasn't technical in nature. It was getting clearance from the company's legal department on the proposed data collection and privacy practices. Jonas Sellergren, who manages the team, said at Strata + Hadoop World 2015 in New York City that it took some doing to balance "this opportunity and the risks a company exposes itself to with potentially sensitive data." And there's a lot of data involved: currently 5 terabytes per month, which Sony processes and analyzes in a Spark system running in the Amazon Web Services cloud. To help ease the legal concerns, Hakan Jonsson, a data scientist on the Lifelog team, said they adopted an "obvious-data-usage principle" specifying they should only collect data that can benefit the app's users. That wasn't an academic exercise. In one case, he said, "we decided not to ...

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