Data Privacy

The constant challenge of innovation

I was struck recently by how technology often creates new problems even as it solves old ones.

Take the internet – great and wonderful in so many ways, clearly. From the opportunity to buy pretty much anything remotely and get it delivered right to our door, to easily finding out as much as we want about any subject that piques our interest, to keeping in touch with far-flung family and friends – the clear and demonstrable benefit of all of these to our lives cannot be overstated.

But the wholesale move of products and services to online, even with the great freedom and access to knowledge that brings, has come at great cost – to our privacy.

Others holding our data takes it out of our control – and we know from the Facebook / Cambridge Analytica scandal, as well as the rash of mass data breaches from big-name companies such as Yahoo, that it is not necessarily safe with them, not least as we can’t control its security, nor who has access to it.

We don’t trust the big tech companies, who are monitoring us, tracking us, selling to us – even as they provide services we like to use for free.

Clearly, bringing data back to the individual is the solution here – putting them at the centre of their online life, in charge of what personal data is shared, and with whom.

This fabulous idea is one on which our whole mission is built. But even then, as part of creating the unique technology which does this, we have had to overcome massive challenges. These include normalising all that data, and solving the interoperability challenge of accessing data from a wide variety of sources and formats.

Working out how to realise the reality of users not just gathering but sharing that data, too, with full privacy, security and consent was also a challenge resolved head-on by our talented tech teams through the creation of our bespoke Private Sharing platform.

But still challenges remain, in part becausing we’re innovating ahead of the curve – so we need to keep evolving our tech to convince evermore people, companies, establishments and governments all around the globe of the incalculable benefits of taking part in this brave new data-sharing world.

Constant innovation, of course, in the development of our Private Sharing platform, as well as the third-party apps built on it, is part and parcel of this.

Ultimately, every problem we crack, every solution we build, and even new challenges that present themselves are all pointing in one direction – to a new personal internet, treating people and their data with respect. And that will always be a hugely important and worthy goal.