Earlier this week I was delighted to present at the UKAuthority’s Data4Good event in London to a wide range of public sector data experts on how data can be safely used for the public good.

The public sector is the perfect place to talk about putting data to a worthy use. Public service organisations hold a huge amount of rich data, and have passion and a responsibility to use that data for good. The benefits can take many forms: data can be used by policy makers to make better decisions, respond faster, and cater to more specific groups’ needs; service delivery can benefit by using data to make services more efficient, targeted and timely; allowing researchers, entrepreneurs and others to access public datasets can drive innovation and productive challenge.

The barrier to using and sharing these valuable datasets is often based on valid concerns over the resulting privacy risks. Privacy engineering provides a way to manage these risks whilst harnessing the underlying power of the data and delivering social and economic benefit.

Dr Yves-Alexandre de-Montjoye, Imperial College London, a leading researcher in the field and a member of Privitar’s advisory board kicked off the Data4Good Conference, explaining how the big data age had opened up new privacy risks and how privacy engineering research was responding.

I then expanded on Yves-Alexandre’s talk by looking at how we’re using some of these new techniques at Privitar, to help our clients manage their privacy risk and thereby unlock their data for broader and wider use.

We were joined by an industry-leading selection of fellow speakers. Key highlights included Paul Maltby laying out a framework for how Government needed to think about data, and the CIO for Manchester and CDO for London discussing the challenges they see to using data to help their communities.

It was a fascinating day of talks and discussion, and it was great to see such an open forum dedicated to using data for public good. You can access my interview with the UKAuthority team and my section of the presentation, covering privacy engineering tools both below via the embeds, enjoy!

Guy Cohen

Strategy & Policy Lead,