The benefits and barriers to privacy-enhancing technologies

Using PETs can help demonstrate a ‘data protection by design and by default’ approach to your organisations’ data processing. By Gabrielle Hornshaw of the University of Nottingham.

Privacy enhancing technologies (PETs) are emerging technologies that allow organisations to hold and process data in more GDPR-compliant ways. The ICO has recently released guidance on the use of PETs and encourages companies to implement them(1).

In a talk at PL&B’s 36th Annual International Conference, Clara Clark Nevola, group manager of Anonymisation and Encryption at the ICO, and Sabrina Salhi, Head of Privacy at Marsh McLennan, discussed why companies should be adopting PETs, the ICO guidance, and how to navigate some of the challenges involved in implementing them.

Many organisations today are facing what Salhi referred to as a “data paradox”; they possess a large amount of data, often siloed or of a low quality, that they are failing to extract any value from due to concerns around data protection. These organisations do not believe they have the means to process their non-anonymous personal data in ways they want to due to the risks involved in sharing it. But with the right privacy-enhancing technology this can be enabled.

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