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Global Data Diaries | October 1, 2021

Updated: Apr 17, 2023

View from Peter Lancos, CEO

"Welcome to eXate's Global Data Diaries series, a fortnightly blog series that aims to bring you the latest news, tips and insights from the world of data privacy. This week we'll cover Synthetic Data and how it has made its way into the world of data sharing."

Synthetic data can be thought of as the oil that powers the digital era. An article by MIT refers to synthetic data regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Schrems II serve as a legal cover for personal or identifiable information, but consequently introduce new technical challenges by limiting data management, processing, collection, and storage methods. Thus, synthetic data could serve as a valuable answer to protect user data privacy, stay compliant with regulations, and still maintain the pace and ability for development and innovation.

The major benefits of using synthetic data are:

  • The ability to support machine learning/deep learning development

  • It can promote data privacy while considering the many regulations related to cross-border transfers

  • Real data might be hard to find, and synthetic data addresses this issue. Large amounts of synthetic data can be generated by an algorithm anytime and anywhere

  • Synthetic data is automatically annotated

One of the PETs eXate focuses on generating Synthetic Data for cross-border data transfers. It helps us address many privacy-related issues. Read more about our Privacy Enhancing Techniques (PETs) on our PETs page.

Could Synthetic Data Be the Future of Data Sharing?

Synthetic data generation (SDG) is rapidly emerging as a practical privacy enhancing technology (PET) for sharing data for secondary purposes. It does so by generating non-identifiable datasets that can be used and disclosed without the legislative need for additional consent given that these datasets would not be considered personal information.

Synthetic data set of human trafficking victims could allow big data work without privacy compomises

In order to combat human trafficking effectively, those combating it must understand it — and these days, that means data. Unfortunately, for obvious reasons there is no convenient index of trafficking victims, though this confidential information is in some ways abundant. Microsoft and the International Organization for Migration may have found a way forward with a new synthetic database that has all the important characteristics of the real trafficking data, but is completely artificial.

The death of identity: Knowing your customer in the age of data privacy

"Know your customer" is one of the foundational concepts of business. In the digital age, companies have learned much about their customers by forming individual profiles from third-party cookies, social content, purchased demographics and more. But in the face of growing demands for privacy, businesses have the opportunity to overhaul their relationship with customer data to focus solely on first-party data and patterns of behaviour.


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