The importance of better – not big – data: Mozilla bats for privacy with Indian startups

By : |October 11, 2019 0

While India awaits its Data Protection Bill to be introduced in the Parliament, Mozilla, successfully conducted two events focusing on lean data practices in Bangalore this week. Held at the Bangalore International Centre, both events emphasised on the need for better – and not more – data collection to build trust between technology companies and end-users, benefiting both innovation and privacy.

Hosted with support from HasGeek, which builds technology communities and fosters a culture of peer review, the sessions saw a wide range of audiences covering the tech developers, policy stakeholders, research analysts, and company professionals.

Mozilla’s Director of Data Science – Dr. Rebecca Weiss and the Vice President and General Manager for Mozilla’s Emerging Markets Group – Stan Leong conducted a public lecture titled, ‘The Big Data Paradox: Why Smart Businesses Should Focus on Better Data, not more’, on October 9th. While Dr. Weiss’ talk revolved around the benefits of lean data practices and how companies can consciously invest in better data through a privacy-first culture, Stan shared about the increasing consumer expectation for privacy and how this can be addressed responsibly by the industry, especially in emerging markets.

The maker of Firefox browser also hosted the second Indian edition of Mozilla’s roundtable series on ‘Lean Data Practices’ on October 10 which was conducted by Urmika Shah – Lead Product and Data Counsel, Mozilla. The roundtable also featured a threat modelling session by Neelu Tripathy, a Principal AppSec Consultant at ThoughtWorks.

The intensive workshop saw participation from over 20 technology players including Bayer, GO-JEK, Instamojo, Exotel, Simpl and Hotstar, as well as technology fellows from Telangana Government.

Key quotes and takeaways from speakers and Mozilla representatives:

Talking about her own experiences as a Data Scientist, Dr. Rebecca Weiss said, “Companies need to understand that focusing on quality data leads to better productivity, cost efficiency, and better business outcomes. They need to be more transparent and disclose the benefits of data to the users i.e. put users in control of their data. They do need to realise that poor data would always lead to bad decision-making and better data would result in better models.”

Discussing the various developments around data protection globally, Stan Leong said, “Customer’s trust is the invisible currency for companies. We have witnessed rising interest among the users to know more about data privacy. Thus, in order to succeed in the competitive market, companies need to focus on a three-pronged structure of staying lean, building security and engaging with the people.”

Talking about the experience from the second edition of Mozilla’s ‘Lean Data Practices’ roundtable series, Urmika Shah shared, “The workshop deep-dived into technical issues and threats faced by many developers in real-time along with brainstorming solutions using the Lean Data Practices framework. We hope this will help companies prepare for compliance with privacy and data protection laws around the world, including the impending one in India.”

Talking about the threat modelling interactive session, Neelu Tripathy, said “In today’s day and age of fast-growing organizations, staying lean with the data is necessary to build trust and scale well. Having more data than we need can easily inflate the attack surface of a company and put the customers at risk. Having a focused approach to data will result in a smarter and more flexible business that can change with growing customer needs.”

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