Big Data – Do You Have a Right to Know Your Data?


In 2013 California proposed a new “right to know” data access bill that “that would require companies to reveal to individuals the “personal information” they store—in other words, a digital copy of every location trace and sighting of their IP address” as reported in an article entitled “The Data Made Me Do It” published in the MIT Technology Review. The MIT article also reported that ‘99.5% of newly created digital data is never analyzed’ but:

  • For the data refineries of Silicon Valley, like Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn, the merger of big data and personal data has been a goal for some time. It creates tools advertisers can use, and it makes products that are particularly “sticky,” too.
  • After all, what’s more interesting than yourself?
  • Facebook suggests who your friends might be.
  • Google Now gets better the more data you give it.

Although California Assembly Bill No. 1291 has stalled and not become law proposed legislation of this sort portends future attempts to create laws to allow our “Right to Know.”

Under the California bill every website would have to provide the following categories of personal information within 30 days of request:

(A) Identity information including, but not limited to, real name, alias, nickname, and user name.

(B) Address information, including, but not limited to, postal address or e-mail.

(C) Telephone number.

(D) Account name.

(E) Social security number or other government-issued identification number, including, but not limited to, social security number, driver’s license number, identification card number, and passport number.

(F) Birthdate or age.

(G) Physical characteristic information, including, but not limited to, height and weight.

(H) Sexual information, including, but not limited to, sexual orientation, sex, gender status, gender identity, and gender expression.

(I) Race or ethnicity.

(J) Religious affiliation or activity.

(K) Political affiliation or activity.

(L) Professional or employment-related information.

(M) Educational information.

(N) Medical information, including, but not limited to, medical conditions or drugs, therapies, mental health, or medical products or equipment used.

(O) Financial information, including, but not limited to, credit, debit, or account numbers, account balances, payment history, or information related to assets, liabilities, or general creditworthiness.

(P) Commercial information, including, but not limited to, records of property, products or services provided, obtained, or considered, or other purchasing or consuming histories or tendencies.

(Q) Location information.

(R) Internet or mobile activity information, including, but not limited to, Internet Protocol addresses or information concerning the access or use of any Internet or mobile-based site or service.

(S) Content, including text, photographs, audio or video recordings, or other material generated by or provided by the customer.

(T) Any of the above categories of information as they pertain to the children of the customer.

While it is interesting to follow uses of “Big Data” it will also be interesting to follow “right to know” legislation.

The publications contained in this site do not constitute legal advice. Legal advice can only be given with knowledge of the client's specific facts. By putting these publications on our website we do not intend to create a lawyer-client relationship with the user. Materials may not reflect the most current legal developments, verdicts or settlements. This information should in no way be taken as an indication of future results.

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