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Openness and security in the big data era

2015.05.01

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Gartner analysis shows that more than 60% of the world's carriers have started to invest in big data. And as technology advances, carriers are also shifting their focus from network assets to data assets. However, making data openly available raises issues of security and privacy, ones that must be addressed.  

Data openness is a big data trend

Carriers develop big data capabilities in three phases – endogenous problem solving, commercialization, and sharing & trading. Most carriers are in the data commercialization phase, where data openness is critical.

Carriers have two primary bases for opening their data – group-based or individual. For the former, carriers provide statistical reports on regional users' characteristics, such as geography, and such reports can be used for government planning or market research purposes. For example, carriers might suggest store locations based on crowd traffic data and work with consultants to output reports for customers. For individual data, carriers profile users based on user behaviors and preferences and then use these profiles to improve their services and develop targeted marketing campaigns. For example, carriers might work with advertisers to launch precision marketing campaigns based on user preferences in vertical industries such as tourism, automotive, and aviation.

Data security and privacy challenge

Carriers must deal with emerging privacy issues at the same time as they begin to profit from data openness. Privacy issues are more serious than problems with mobile Internet advertising because when data is exposed to and reused by third parties, its security and privacy may be compromised.

To protect user privacy, general national laws must be enacted to ensure that user permission is obtained before the data is made open. This measure must be supplemented with a data usage, management, and authorization mechanism. For users to benefit from data openness, the protection of sensitive information is critical.

As data service providers, carriers must improve data service transparency to maintain the profitability of data openness. Carriers must notify consumers of what data has been made open plus where and how long it will be used. They must guarantee the security of the open data, and grant users full control to view and cancel the data and corresponding processes at any time.

Various organizations, countries, and regions, including the EU and the U.S., are beginning to regulate data security and privacy. The security and privacy of open data must be protected in accordance with international laws, the design principles of general privacy protection for the industry, and individual data privacy protection principles. In this context, technology must be used to protect sensitive information. Data openness is only feasible with controlled access, encrypted storage, and the secure transmission of individual data.

Huawei Open Data Bus solution

Technically, a safe channel should be in place to ensure that the big data capability of carriers and data transactions of users are secure, reliable, and compliant with standards.

Huawei has a wealth of experience in reliability and security design in the telecom industry, and understands the laws and regulations of more than 100 countries. It has developed a solution that incorporates measures such as real-time authorization, anonymity, encryption, and adaptation to various security and privacy protection policies. The Open Data Bus solution is Huawei's answer to total data protection and user privacy.

Managing data openness: Huawei believes that data openness must be preauthorized by users. Users can easily revoke authorization or determine which data is off-limits. In addition, Huawei advocates a transparent process of data openness so users can easily find out where their data is coming from and going to. This management policy enables users to monitor data flow. Moreover, carriers can obtain valuable data and simultaneously improve user awareness about information security. The Huawei Open Data Bus solution features a user data openness management module, which is a convenient user data openness management tool for carriers. It includes a user-friendly interface for end users to manage the data being opened.

Privacy reference model: The privacy reference model represents complex laws and regulations as simple and configurable metadata labels. It provides a basis for determining whether to open each piece of data, and incorporates end-to-end privacy policies to prevent privacy invasion. As a service provider for more than 100 carriers worldwide, Huawei ensures that its Open Data Bus privacy reference model is universally applicable. By analyzing regional and national laws and regulations, and then grading common carrier data, Huawei defines data in each grade, and provides references for privacy laws and regulations for graded data implementation. The privacy reference model also has the flexibility to adapt to customer requirements or regional policies.

Data usage security: Data openness brings carriers out of the closed telecom network and into the open Internet. Without reliable security mechanisms, data openness cannot survive Internet attacks. Threats can be neutralized using end-to-end data security and privacy protection measures such as authentication and authorization, secure transmission, data encryption, anonymity including generalization and randomization, pseudonyms, data usage audits, and secure data deletion. The Huawei Open Data Bus solution supports all these security features, making it applicable to the entire IT industry.

Future prospects

Current data openness involves existing carrier data assets. To better utilize these assets in the future, carriers will use their credibility, and huge data assets, to incorporate third-party data into a data-mart ecosystem. Implementing multi-source data sharing and trading with privacy protection in a data-mart ecosystem will pose a challenge for big data security and privacy solutions.

As the data openness business model matures, each country will further standardize data security and privacy protection. Another challenge for big data security and privacy solutions is how to rapidly respond to business requirements in compliance with the laws and regulations of different countries. This is an increasingly necessary capability given the various forms of big data openness. 

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