Protecting Data Privacy in a Data-Sharing World

There are compelling reasons for organizations to share data. The challenge is to enable data sharing in a way that protects the privacy of users’ personal information.

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Dell EMC

In a world where artificial intelligence is everywhere, data sharing is increasingly locking horns with data-privacy concerns. This is a conflict that is playing out around the globe, as private and public organizations are trying to find ways to share data without compromising sensitive personal information.

For an example of this conflict, we need to look no further than recent news reports indicating that digital companies capture audio recordings from their digital assistants for use in their work to improve the accuracy and performance of their speech recognition systems.1 While these companies take many steps to protect the confidentiality of personal information, users still have reasons to be concerned about breeches of privacy.

Governments, too, have plenty of concerns about how organizations are using and protecting the personal information they collect and store. These concerns are at the heart of an ever-expanding body of regulations that dictate steps organizations must take to protect the confidentiality of the data they capture and store. These regulations include the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Australia’s Privacy Act, and Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). States, too, are getting into the game with regulations like the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which takes effect in 2020. It is said to define personal information in even broader terms than the GPDR.2

For organizations that collect and store personal information, the mandate to protect the privacy of personal information is just one piece of a larger data problem. They also have compelling reasons to share the data they collect.

A few examples:

  • Medical researchers need access to confidential patient data to use in their studies of diseases to identify cures.
  • Retail chains need consumer data to identify markets that can support new stores while meeting demand.
  • Municipalities need to share data to improve transit systems and public safety.
  • Makers of intelligent connected cars need to enable vehicle data exchange and the monetization of vehicle data while protecting data privacy.

Ultimately, in this new era, businesses everywhere need to share data in order to drive innovation and bring new products and services to market. And to get there, they have to overcome the data-privacy challenges.

Enabling data sharing data with privacy protections

Today, many organizations are working to enable data sharing in a manner that fully protects the security and privacy of sensitive personal information. One of these organizations is the MOSAICrOWN project.

MOSAICrOWN project was launched in January by a consortium that includes Dell EMC, Mastercard and SAP, along with university and government partners — Università degli Studi di Milano, Università degli Studi di Bergamo, and GEIE ERCIM (Host of the W3C). The project, which has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, is dedicated to enabling data sharing and collaborative analytics in multi-owner scenarios in a privacy-preserving way.

What’s in a name?

MOSAICrOWN is an acronym based on the project’s title: Multi-Owner data Sharing for Analytics and Integration respecting Confidentiality and OWNer control.


The MOSAICrOWN project is working to provide solutions that allow data owners to share data while maintaining control of the data-sharing process. To realize this vision, the project is working to produce a set of modular tools that will support an enriched data market scenario with protection of data across the entire lifecycle.


A broad focus on data security

Participation in the MOSAICrOWN project is just one of many data-security initiatives under way at Dell EMC and other Dell Technologies companies. One of these focus areas is server security. To help organizations protect, detect and recover from cyber-attacks, security is built into the Dell EMC PowerEdge server design, not bolted on after the fact.

PowerEdge servers have featured robust security for several generations, including the innovation of using silicon-based security and cryptographic root of trust to authenticate server booting and firmware updates. These features align with security standards such as NIST SP800-147B and UEFI Secure Boot. In addition, the latest-generation of Dell EMC servers features an enhanced Cyber Resilient Architecture that provides a hardened server design to protect, detect and recover from cyber-attacks.

Capabilities like these, which are built into our PowerEdge servers for the convergence of high-performance computing and AI, give organizations a stronger, more secure foundation for their operating systems and applications — and a better framework for protecting confidential data.

Other Dell Technologies companies, in turn, offer a rich array of products, solutions and services for data security and compliance with GDPR and similar governmental regulations. This portfolio of security solutions spans the gamut of data security, data incident management, recordkeeping, accountability principle, data retention, data minimization, data storage, data discovery and data governance.

Key takeaways

In the emerging era of stringent data protection regulations, organizations need to be extremely cautious with any private, sensitive or confidential data. At the same time, they need to share data to drive innovation and discovery.

These dual and sometimes conflicting needs will grow all the more pressing as organizations make deeper inroads into data-intensive AI applications. As they work to navigate the twists and turns in the road to data sharing with data privacy, organizations aren’t alone. Many companies and research-driven organizations are working to help them address the issues at hand — and clear the route to a future where data sharing doesn’t lock horns with data-privacy concerns.

Getting started

To move forward with data-sharing projects, it’s important to choose a company that thinks about data privacy from beginning to end, while maintaining a commitment to furthering human progress. That’s Dell Technologies — a company with a focus on both technology and a Legacy of Good. For more information, watch the recent interview I did at Dell Technologies World 2019 with Mastercard’s VP of Global Big Data Consulting, Nick Curcuru.3

Business Insider, “Amazon workers reportedly listen to what you tell Alexa — here's how Apple and Google handle what you say to their voice assistants,” April 15, 2019.

2 Datanami, “Surviving the Coming Data Governance Wave,” February 28, 2019.

3 SiliconANGLE theCUBE, “Nick Curcuru, Mastercard, & Thierry Pellegrino, Dell EMC | Dell Technologies World 2019,” April 29, 2019.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.