Data protection in big-data analyses

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St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences researches methods for the analysis of sensitive data while ensuring data-protection requirements

The issue of data protection has experienced a tremendous upturn in recent years, not least due to the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into force in May. However, data-protection efforts have a multitude of research and economic interests, which are faced with the delivery of often sensitive and personal data such as in the area of disease research.

Negative effects on data quality

"In accordance with the GDPR, the heretofore frequently used method of pseudonymisation may no longer be used as a data-protection measure. However, classical anonymisation processes generally distort the data to a great degree and thereby have an adverse effect on the quality of the information", explained Peter Kieseberg, Head of the Institute of IT Security Research at St. Pölten UAS and Head of the project. Therefore, in the "Big Data Analytics" project, Kieseberg and his team are researching current methods that prevent or predict the negative effects of anonymisation measures.

Another significant aspect of the GDPR is informational self-determination including: the right to retroactive withdrawal of consent, the right to transparency as well as the right to data deletion. This regulation poses enormous challenges for many companies when it comes to questions such as: How do I keep an overview of where, when and which data I have used? How can data sets be completely deleted? The St. Pölten UAS team are also working on this in the context of the project. The data and task formulations used in the project are provided by partner companies in the fields of technology, health and care. This ensures the greatest possible practical relevance.

Project "Big Data Analytics"

In addition to the Institute of IT Security Research, the Institute of Creative\Media/Technologies at St. Pölten UAS and external project partners are also involved in the project. The three-year research project is funded by the Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs as part of the COIN-Capacity-Building programme.

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