Public Release: 

Meeting the challenges of Big Data

A joint UK/US panel to discuss policy issues related to Big Data

Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology

The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology is hosting a session on the challenges and social impacts of Big Data with the US Government Accountability Office at the AAAS 2015 Annual Meeting in San Jose, California, on Friday 13 February 2015.

Representatives from UK and US universities, governments and parliaments will discuss the opportunities and challenges that Big Data presents, and what it means for data control, data security and privacy.

"Big Data is such an interesting policy area," says Lydia Harriss, Policy Advisor for the UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology and Moderator of the panel, "It offers huge potential benefits, but throws up many questions worthy of political and public debate." "Take healthcare, for example. Healthcare records hold the potential for improvements in clinical practice, but raise questions over privacy and data security."

As increasing amounts of information about our lives are gathered and stored, large and complex Big Data sets can offer insights into markets, business and society. These insights affect health, transport, security and other areas.

"Here in the US and abroad, the transformative effects of data and analytics - ranging from market and regulatory disruption to unintended challenges to our notions of privacy - are being felt and will continue to rapidly emerge," says Dr. Timothy Persons, Chief Scientist of the US Government Accountability Office.

In 2014, the UK's Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) undertook a programme of work exploring how big data is being applied across a range of areas, such as business, policing and research.

Session Details

Big Data: Challenges and Social Impacts

Friday, 13 February 2015: 8:30 AM-11:30 AM

AAAS 2015 Annual Meeting

Room LL21D, San Jose Convention Center


Dave Feinleib, The Big Data Group

George Poste, Arizona State University

Edward You, US Federal Bureau of Investigation

Claire Craig, UK Government Office for Science

Piyushimita Thakuriah, University of Glasgow

Timothy M. Persons, US Government Accountability Office


Lydia Harriss, UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology


About POST

The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) is the UK Parliament's in-house source of scientific advice. POST's publications, including the Big Data briefings, are available on the UK Parliament's Web site.

About US GAO

The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the US Congress.


Dr Lydia Harriss
Policy Advisor
Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology
7 Millbank, London, SW1P 3JA, UK
+44 (0) 20 7219 8380

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