Data Standardization: Technical Barriers and the Role of Government - Part 6

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Bethany Walsh

Sep 17, 2021

Data standardization also raises privacy issues. The easier it is to share data, the easier it is for private data to fall into the hands of more people. In addition, the increase of dataset’s size and quality may cause negative privacy externalities, because missing information about data subjects can be learned indirectly by observing other data subjects with similar attributes.


Data standardization also affects network security. The integration of database may enable the security system to detect suspicious activity patterns more efficiently, and the data scale may enable the algorithm to learn from past patterns more quickly to detect future attacks. However, these benefits come from trade-offs. The more standardized the data, the easier it is for hackers to access and use it. If data standardization enables the creation of larger, less fragmented databases, the potential harm will become more serious. Besides, inefficient standards reduce the organization's ability to detect cyber threats.


Analyses show that the costs and benefits of data standardization may vary according to different types of data or their uses, and the beneficial and harmful effects of the increased use of data cannot be easily separated. Therefore, preventing the use of certain data, including sharing data in some cases, is usually better than preventing data standardization. In some situations, encouraging data standardization must be accompanied by legal, technical and even cultural safeguards to ensure its positive impact on overall social welfare.

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