An overview of how data privacy startups are empowering users to reclaim control of their personal information in an era of constant data exploitation.
Businesses have no choice but to comply with tough privacy rules such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). The GDPR is aimed at protecting the data and privacy of all individuals living, residing, or staying in any of the countries under the European Union, and the CCPA, of residents in California.
While the Regulation and Act have been imperative in forcing organisations to respect user privacy and comply with data laws, companies can still exploit loopholes and manipulate users into consenting to share data without their knowledge. Brand-new startups are addressing this gap in this nascent and growing area.
Privacy has large business potential. Crunchbase, a leading information centre that provides company insights includes 207 privacy startups, as of April 2021, that have raised more than USD 3.5 billion in fundraising across hundreds of distinct rounds. When business privacy players are included in the count, the number skyrockets to 809. Investors were interested in privacy technology long before the recent wave of new privacy legislation went into force. According to Crunchbase, the sector received approximately USD 10 billion in investment in 2019, up from USD 1.7 billion in 2010. Despite the epidemic, investments remained active in 2020.
If there is one thing we have learned from the digital age, it is that our personal information is like currency in the virtual realm. With every click, swipe, and tap, we leave behind a trail of data that can reveal more about us than we might realise. Enter the superheroes of the online world – data privacy startups. These innovative companies are swooping in to shield users’ sensitive information from prying eyes.
Borneo is a privacy information and data management platform that was founded in 2018 and provides security and privacy solutions for hyper-growth technology firms through real-time privacy data observability and insights. Borneo’s innovative approach connects with existing tools and workflows, allowing businesses to satisfy privacy compliance by establishing a strong data security foundation. This enables security practitioners to use non-blocking workflows and expedite remediation without impeding business teams working in fast-paced, high-growth situations. According to Founder and CEO Prithvi Rai, the company is quickly becoming the bulwark of the new data economy. Borneo integrates with existing security stacks to provide the required privacy data intelligence. Furthermore, it prevents data leaks and privacy violations which can result in multi-million dollar fines and erode end-user trust. Borneo’s staff has confronted and solved privacy concerns at global, hyper-growth organisations like Facebook, Dropbox, Uber, and Yahoo.
When the European Union implemented the GDPR in April 2016, it sent businesses scrambling to change the ways they protect people’s personal data. Kabir Barday, CEO of OneTrust, created his company less than two months later to assist those organisations in navigating GDPR’s complex regulations, capitalising on an untapped market that has subsequently burgeoned in the wake of other data privacy rules. OneTrust achieved unicorn status after raising USD 200 million in a Series A funding round led by New York-based Insight Partners and is currently valued at USD 1.3 billion.
OneTrust offers a platform with features such as data mapping automation that aids in compliance with an increasing number of privacy rules, such as the CCPA. Barday, claims that the company stands out due to 50 patents, with another 50 pending. His vision is to diversify its product offerings beyond privacy management software.
Sarus addresses the issue of gaining access to or sharing personal data for analytics or machine learning. The technology is natively deployed in data infrastructures and allows practitioners to work on data that they cannot view. Every interaction with sensitive data is safeguarded by the highest level of privacy – differential privacy. Sarus renders existing anonymisation approaches obsolete, saving months of compliance and data engineering time while retaining all of the data’s value. Combining Azure confidential computing capabilities with Sarus opens up new avenues for combining sensitive data from multiple sources. The company demonstrated how, in collaboration with numerous institutions, a joint system can trace financial crime by pooling transaction data. It greatly enhanced prediction capability over siloed data while maintaining the greatest levels of data security and privacy. Sarus now supports huge data sources stored in data warehouses such as BigQuery, Redshift, Synapse, and Hive.
Apheris is a platform for collaborating on data ecosystems. The platform allows various organisations to derive value from one another’s decentralised data sets, assisting them in overcoming regulatory, technical, and commercial difficulties. Terabytes of data are stored in organisations. Apheris thinks that harnessing the terabytes of data that each individual organisation has access to will enable the next wave of innovation to solve the world’s most pressing challenges. With EU27 data economies expected to grow to EUR 550 billion by 2025, Apheris’ Federated Data Platform will enable businesses to securely access complementary data, break down data silos, and jointly answer questions and solve problems that they would be unable to do on their own.
OneTrust achieved unicorn status after raising USD 200 million in a Series A funding round led by New York-based Insight Partners and is currently valued at USD 1.3 billion.
Until now, true data collaborations have been hampered by regulatory and technical constraints. Apheris’ technology provides a federated approach, allowing all stakeholders to have complete control over data governance and, as a result, assuring security, privacy, and intellectual property protection.
In an age where digital footprints are constantly growing, and personal information has become the currency of the digital realm, the role of data privacy startups takes centre stage. These innovative companies are championing a critical cause: ensuring that data privacy remains firmly in the control of the end user.
The digital landscape has been marred by incidents where companies exploited loopholes to access and utilise valuable personal information, often without the user’s consent or awareness. This unchecked access poses significant risks to individuals and society as a whole. The potential for misuse, identity theft, cyberattacks, and the erosion of personal freedoms are just a few of the pressing concerns.
Fortunately, data privacy startups have emerged as guardians of our digital autonomy. They recognize the urgency of the situation and have dedicated themselves to providing solutions that empower users to regain control over their data. Through innovative technologies, robust encryption, and transparent data policies, these startups are reshaping the digital ecosystem into one where individuals can navigate confidently without the constant fear of their private information falling into the wrong hands.
However, while data privacy startups are essential in this fight, they should not be the sole guardians of our data. Users themselves play a pivotal role in safeguarding their information. Individuals must exercise caution and diligence when sharing personal data online. Staying informed about local laws, rules, and regulations concerning data privacy is a fundamental step towards maintaining control over one’s digital footprint.
Nevertheless, startups recognize that not everyone can be well-versed in the intricate web of data laws. This is where their presence in the online domain becomes indispensable. By offering user-friendly tools and clear privacy controls, these companies bridge the gap between complex legal jargon and everyday digital life. They strive to make data privacy accessible and manageable for all, regardless of technical expertise.