Data science guru joins White House team

Data science VP joins White House team
By Erin McCann
11:19 AM
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White House
Big data is top mind for the Obama Administration after White House officials announced this month they were bringing on one of the nation's most renown data scientists to lead efforts on a healthcare data initiative. 
 
The White House has hired DJ Patil to serve in the role of data scientist in residence, officials announced Feb 5. in a press briefing, according to a recent report by Gigaom. Patil, who has previously worked at LinkedIn as chief scientist and, most recently, VP of product at RelateIQ, also had stints at eBay at the University of Maryland as an assistant research scientist. Patil is associated with calling a data scientist "the sexiest job of the 21st century" after his 2012 Harvard Business Review publication. 
 
Just this February, the White House released a big data interim progress report that reviewed the past year's opportunities for leveraging big data initiatives to help myriad difference services, including combating fraud, healthcare and streamlining public services. "A year after the President's request for this report, the Obama Administration has worked to advance a number of the concrete policy proposals offered in the report, both by launching new efforts and continuing to develop previously existing
projects," the report read.
 
The report also put forth several recommendations related to big data and privacy including:
 
  • "Advance the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights because consumers deserve clear, understandable, reasonable standards for how their personal information is used in the big data era.
  • Pass national data breach legislation that provides for a single national data breach standard,along the lines of the administration's 2011 cybersecurity legislative proposal.
  • Extend privacy protections to non-U.S. persons because privacy is a worldwide value, and should be reflected in how the federal government handles personally identifiable information from non-U.S. citizens.
  • Ensure Data Collected on students in school is used for educational purposes to protect students from having their data shared or used inappropriately.
  • Expand technical expertise to stop discrimination so that the federal government's lead civil rights and consumer protection agencies can identify practices and outcomes facilitated by big data analytics that have a discriminatory impact on protected classes and develop plans for investigating and resolving violations of law.
  • Amend the Electronic Communications Privacy Act to ensure the standard of protection for online, digital content is consistent with that afforded in the physical world – including by removing archaic distinctions between email left unread or over a certain age."

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