A White House-appointed committee released on Thursday its report and recommendations on how to deal with the advent of big data. It’s a generally balanced report that, curiously, doesn’t include any real reference to the large-scale domestic spying carried out by the National Security Agency — one of the biggest and most-impressive big data projects around.

Otherwise, the report hits most of the notes anything seriously assessing the promises and perils of big data needs to hit. It holds the potential to cure diseases, prevent crimes, streamline industries and the federal government, and improve the education system. It’s one of the things that helps maintain a generally free and useful internet.

It’s also a potential privacy nightmare. And the unchecked collection of, and access to, data about every aspect of our lives can lead to new methods of racial or class discrimination by police, banks and retailers.

The report concludes with…

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