Yesterday President Obama issued a historic call for a variety of new privacy laws, covering data breach notification, student data privacy protection, and a comprehensive privacy legislation package to be introduced to Congress. What does all of this mean for the Big Data enterprise? First and foremost, companies are called upon to know what’s happening with the data they hold, avoid loss of goodwill, reduce the risk of fine created from misuse of data, and give users more control over data held by others.

From both the President and Congress, the call on companies is clear “Consumers shouldn’t have to hold their breath and cross their fingers every time they swipe a card or enter information online,” said House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), in response to President Obama’s proposal.

That sounds simple enough: consumers should trust that their data is being used properly and laws are being followed. Some companies that gather large amounts of data have already been tackling this problem. Unfortunately, today’s solutions and processes are largely manual, can’t scale with the pace of big data analytics, and tend to focus more on proving compliance rather than actually protecting privacy.

With the amount of collected data increasing daily and new regulatory changes afoot, enterprises need a scalable way to account for this data use. They must move from a checkbox approach to one that gives them continuous visibility into data usage and actionable intelligence to restrict inappropriate data use.