June 27, 2018 Print

In Italy, finding new ways to harness big data could drive the country’s economic future. As data-processing software has become more efficient, firms are now able to store large quantities of data. The phrase “big data” tends to refer to utilizing data for predictive analytics and user behavior analytics. Istituto Bruno Leoni (IBL), an Atlas Network partner based in Torino, recently held a conference about the data economy and its potential to further economic growth and combat misinformation surrounding the issue.

“The purpose of the IBL conference was to understand whether big data represents a risk or an opportunity,” said Serena Sileoni, the vice director general of IBL. “[The speakers examined] how data can be fairly related to privacy and information, if and how antitrust surveillance affects big data, and the differences between traditional data analysis and outlining data. Our hope is to have contributed to a less biased and more objective understanding of the nature and the value of data, and of the processes that convert data to social and economic value.”

From left to right: Augusto Preta (lawyer and president of IT Media Consulting), Franco Debenedetti (president of Istituto Bruno Leoni), Serena Sileoni (vice director general of IBL), Gabriella Muscolo (member of the Antitrust Italian Authority), Antonio Nicita (member of the TLC Italian Authority), Mariateresa Maggiolino (law professor), and Giuseppe Colangelo (law and economics professor).

IBL held the conference in Rome and more than 120 attended. The event was inspired by the publication Economia dei dati, tendenze di mercato e prospettive di policy (The data economy: market trends and policy perspectives), an exhaustive report by IT-Media Consulting and Bocconi University.

“The conference has been an opportunity to discuss the nature and the value of big data—especially as a key factor of market power—among scholars, experts and public authorities engaged in guaranteeing fair competition and freedom of information, like the Antitrust and Telecommunication National Authority,” continued Sileoni. “The aim was to understand if, and in what sense, big data is different from personal data. [Big data] is a commodity belonging to, but not overlapping with, single data, which is a matter of individual right. In that sense, data is an added value for both companies and consumers. The conference sought to clarify whether such value should be taken into account in defining the market power of data owners, especially from an antitrust perspective.”

Over 120 people attended IBL's conference on big data.