April 27, 2021
Written by
Gary LaFever
Anonos Joins World Economic Forum Innovation Community to Enable Data Protection Evolution LinkedIn Logo

Anonos Joins World Economic Forum Innovation Community to Enable Data Protection Evolution

Anonos has become an official member of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Innovators community, serving as a key contributor on Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technology projects to embed verifiable controls to enable trusted data flows. These projects are critical steps in enabling data protection to evolve in a way that supports shifting data use patterns.

Data processing practices have changed dramatically over the last twenty or thirty years, with the age of “Big Data” well underway. Technological developments mean that organisations can move seamlessly from original transactional (primary purpose) data collection and processing to much more advanced (secondary purpose) data analytics, AI and ML. The rise of Big Data has driven the development of processing technologies that can handle much larger datasets with more complex analyses. Still, Privacy Enhancing Techniques (PETs) have lagged behind.

First-, Second-, and Third-Generation privacy enhancing techniques (PETs) face many challenges. First-Generation PETs include security techniques such as encryption that protect data when in transit and at rest. However, data is unencrypted when processed, making it vulnerable to attack and misuse. Second-Generation PETs include anonymisation and differential privacy techniques that suffer from reidentification vulnerabilities when data sets are combined and introduce so much “noise” that data loses significant utility. Finally, Third-Generation PETs such as synthetic data and homomorphic encryption are developing. Still, they involve high processing overheads and difficulty in controlled relinking of data and identity, such as for at-risk study participants during longitudinal studies (e.g., for health and medical research purposes).

Groups such as the WEF Global Innovators community encourage developments in data protection technology responsive to current data processing practices. Anonos’ subject matter expertise in developing and deploying innovative 4IR data protection technology moves beyond and overcomes the many limitations of traditional PETs. As legal challenges against current data sharing approaches continue to mount (such as the Schrems II case invalidating the EU-US Privacy Shield), technologies like that provided by Anonos are increasingly needed. New 4IR approaches can enable the sustainable unlocking of data for both commercial and societal benefits. A press release highlights the role that Anonos is playing in the WEF Global Innovators community, with key excerpts from the release set out below.

Excerpted Quotes from Press Release:

“Harnessing the benefits of the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) relies upon equitable access to data, but although there is now an unprecedented amount of data flows across devices and borders, the regulatory environment for data access and use remains somewhat fractured. We welcome Anonos as a member of our Global Innovators Community, serving as a key contributor on our projects seeking workable solutions to build trust in data flows. By enforcing data use policies using 4IR technology, Anonos brings great experience and expertise in this space and we look forward to their participation in this important work.”

Anne Josephine Flanagan, Data Policy & Governance Lead at the World Economic Forum

“Accelerating the responsible exchange and use of data can solve critical challenges and fuel innovation for society. We welcome Anonos to DCPI, a first-of-its kind global initiative focused on designing a governance framework to responsibly enhance the societal benefit from data. Anonos’ technology that allows for re-linkable non-identifying personalized data shows how advances in technology makes our ability to leverage data for better outcomes plausible today. Bringing together leaders from technology startups and scaleups with other players such as governments, academic institutions and civil society is essential in realizing the potential of data while respecting the rights of the individual parties involved.”

Nadia Hewett, lead for the Data for Common Purpose Initiative (DCPI) at the World Economic Forum

“The World Economic Forum’s Empowered Data Societies project, a collaboration with the Finnish government and the City of Helsinki, is looking at how a human-centric model could improve data availability to empower communities and societies. We’re delighted to have Anonos contribute their unique perspective to our multi-stakeholder community of experts from academia, business, civil society and government in exploring ways to build healthy data relationships, supporting data driven innovation while respecting privacy and individual choice.”

Julie Ziskind, Platform Curator for the World Economic Forum’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution’s (C4IR) Data Policy Platform

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