Many startups offer their clients big data analysis services based on machine-learning algorithms. The results of such analyses can be of interest to any companies profiling their products or marketing campaigns. But for the analysis to be reliable, it takes data—the more the better. Algorithms using machine learning must have something to learn from. The accuracy of the forecasts subsequently developed for business aims will depend on the scope of the training data fed to them. If the algorithm is limited from the start to analysis of an abridged sample of observations, the risk increases that it will incorrectly group data, overlooking important correlations or causal connections—or see them where they don’t exist. Only training the algorithm on large datasets can minimise the risk of shortcomings in diagnosis and prognosis.
In 2012 a 15-year-old girl was killed when she was hit by a train in the Berlin metro. Not knowing whether the death of her daughter was suicide or an accident, her mother decided to log on to her daughter’s Facebook account and read her messages in the hope that this would resolve the matter.
After attempting unsuccessfully to guess the password, the mother asked Facebook to provide her with her daughter’s details and allow her to read private conversations. Facebook refused to grant access to the account, which had been changed to a “memorialised” account. In effect the account was frozen, and the timeline was being used as a place for friends to share memories of the deceased girl.
The new recommendation on processing of data for purposes of employment is designed to meet challenges posed by greater digitisation.
On 1 April 2015 the Council of Europe adopted Recommendation CM/Rec(20l5)5 of the Committee of Ministers to member States on the processing of personal data in the context of employment. The previous recommendation was issued before the growth of the internet and new technologies, and did not reflect contemporary realities. Aware of the increased use of new technologies and electronic communications in dealings between employers and employees, the Council of Europe decided to modify the recommendation to ensure adequate protection of personal data in employment.