The White House last week ordered a review of big data, how it is changing the way we live and work, and how it can be employed with minimal risks to privacy.

"We are undergoing a revolution in the way that information about our purchases, our conversations, our social networks, our movements, and even our physical identities are collected, stored, analyzed and used," said John Podesta, counselor to the president in a blog. "The immense volume, diversity and potential value of data will have profound implications for privacy, the economy, and public policy."

Driving the review will be Podesta, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, Secretary of Energy Ernie Moniz, the President’s Science Advisor John Holdren, the President’s Economic Advisor Gene Sperling and other senior government officials. Podesta says that while a comprehensive policy will not materialize in 90 days, he expects the review to serve as "the foundation for a robust and forward-looking plan of action."