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Patricia O'Connell
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Wiley Rein’s Kirk Nahra Discusses White House Privacy Report on “Big Data”

May 16, 2014

Kirk J. Nahra, chair of Wiley Rein’s Privacy Practice, was quoted today in a Fortune article about the recent White House report on privacy challenges associated with “big data”—the large, interconnected databases of personal information collected by the government and companies.

Mr. Nahra noted that a decade ago, companies did not gather much, if any, customer data.  But “there are a million ways” now to collect consumers’ information, and that can pose legal risks for businesses, he said.

“A lot of times the data collection is going on without management or the company’s lawyers knowing about it, and without being thought about,” Mr. Nahra said.  “There are risks in several different categories.”

While the Obama administration’s May 1 report is largely a series of recommendations, “it should be a wake-up call for businesses,” Mr. Nahra said.  “The whole idea of what you do with data is becoming a more and more important part of every business.”

He added that companies should be selective regarding the type of customer data they collect, and ensure that it will serve a specific need.  “Don’t collect it just because you can,” Mr. Nahra said.

To read the full Fortune article, click here.