School of Law academic provides written submissions to UK government committees

Professor Subhajit Basu has submitted evidence to the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee and the Transport Committee.

Professor Basu’s written submission to the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee’s inquiry Transforming the UK’s Evidence Base has been published.  

The decennial census is a monumental exercise in democracy. However, what appears to be a straightforward task is fraught with complexities and vulnerabilities. The digital age has ushered in a transformation in how information is gathered, analysed, and leveraged. This shift impacts many domains, including traditional data collection methods like surveys and Censuses. With the advent of big data, AI, and real-time analytics, these conventional methods may be outdated.


The inquiry is examining “how officials produce statistics and analysis, how demands for data are changing, and whether the privacy of citizens is being adequately protected as new and innovative sources become available.” Professor Basu’s submission deals with various issues, including protecting privacy and ethical use of data, new data sources and their strengths/weaknesses, whom official data and analyses should serve, and how data demands are changing. 

The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee is appointed by the House of Commons to examine constitutional issues, the quality and standards of administration provided by Civil Service departments, and the reports of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO). 

Professor Basu has also provided written evidence to the Transport Committee's inquiry into the potential uses of data to improve the planning and delivery of transport services, maintenance and management of transport assets, and helping transport users get around more quickly, efficiently and safely.  

Big Data has been a game-changer for various sectors, with transportation at the forefront of this transformation. As location data becomes more integrated with our transport systems, it can reshape urban planning, boost environmental sustainability, and redefine personal mobility. This comes with challenges, though. As location data can divulge intimate aspects of an individual's routine and habits, privacy, ethics, and intellectual property concerns emerge. While efforts to de-identify data exist, modern tools can still reidentify individuals, especially with vehicles increasingly becoming data hubs.