GDPR… Does This Spell the End of Data Science as We Know It?

Jack Pope 16.05.2018

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect later this month and it is set to drastically impact the role of a data scientist in business.

For those thus far unaware of GDPR, it is an initiative driven by the EU to better protect the personal data of its citizens. It should 100% be taken seriously by companies operating outside of the EU; firstly Australia is surely set to fall in line with this new level of compliance, and companies that have offices in the EU will have to comply across the board to the new regulations.

Outlined below are some of the key points of how this change could affect your business moving forward.

Consent

Under the new regulations, consent will be required for every specific action taken with a subject's data, dramatically decreasing the availability of exploratory analytics. Although this will limit the availability of data, it could prove to be a plus, driving organisations to narrow the focus of their profiling, ensuring they are driving tangible outcomes for the consumer as well as themselves.

Explanation

Watching Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg answer questions from what was, a largely clueless US Senate, for me goes to show how far behind even the upper echelons of the US government are in understanding data, analytics and its usage. 

The idea of explaining to the general public why their data needs to be inputted into a machine learning model, which predicts what pair of shoes I am likely to buy to match the new jeans in my basket is overwhelming

The impact of this is going to be a huge, a challenge I am sure most data scientists will have to face during the interview process from now on.

Bias and Discrimination

Non-biased automated decisioning, this is probably the toughest for companies to embrace, it is not enough to just remove the data points which are determined as discriminatory variables, but data scientists should also ensure that the results are void of discrimination or bias. 

It is not all doom and gloom for the wider world of analytics, people working in data governance and data stewardship are likely to be in demand. The Chief Data Officer has never been a better idea, forcing lots of companies to revolutionise the way they collect, store and use their data. 

We are seeing continued demand for top talent in the area of data governance and data integrity. If you are seeking employment in this space or looking for top talent to help you get ahead of the curve, please reach out to find out how we could help further.

jpope@morganmckinley.com.au

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Jack Pope's picture
Consultant | Analytics
jpope@morganmckinley.com.au