Guy Cohen: Case study

at Privitar Ltd

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Policy and Strategy Lead, Privitar Ltd

“I found CSaP’s Policy Fellowship to be exceedingly useful and interesting. There is an element of public service and ‘working for something greater than your salary’. I’m very thankful for the hard work CSaP does and I foresee continuing value from my Fellowship.”

I’m the Policy and Strategy Lead at Privitar, a privacy engineering technology company which designs solutions for data scientists, so they can mine large data sets in a privacy-preserving way.

As a nascent field there are a range of unsolved policy challenges in privacy engineering. These include understanding what is required by new regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation; looking beyond just regulation to see the ethical considerations which exist outside of legal requirements; and developing the standards and methods which can form the best practice required to enable wide adoption of these powerful new tools.

I greatly enjoyed my experience as a Policy Fellow, and felt the experience gave me both useful insight into my areas of interest, and a greater understanding of the role of academia in policy making. I found it motivating due to the relevance to my work, as well as from intellectual curiosity to understand the work of the fascinating people I met.

The conversations with those I met, both other Policy Fellows and those at workshops I attended, have been interesting and important. For instance, a conversation with a Cambridge researcher at a CSaP dinner in my first year changed the way I think about data ownership.

As well as being interesting and formative, many of my meetings also led to ongoing collaborations and relationships. I been invited to speak to students on the subject of data privacy and ethics. And I am having ongoing discussion with four other academics on pieces which we might collaborate on, all of which I think are fascinating and relevant to both my and their work.

Privacy is only growing as an issue and an area for research and as such I hope that the valuable connections made through the Fellowship will continue. Ideally, I’d like to see a working group emerge which myself and many of those I met could join to continue collaborating and sharing learning. I’m also keen to take part in further policy workshops on big data and data privacy as appropriate.