Data Republic on de-identification

James Riley
Editorial Director

Balancing the demands of privacy and innovation is not impossible, according to Data Republic co-founder Danny Gilligan, and he is out to prove it.

Data Republic has just launched Senate Matching, a new de-identification and privacy-preserving data matching feature for users of Data Republic’s existing Senate platform.

Senate Matching lets organisations to de-identify and match datasets without needing to exchange customers’ personally identifiable information (PII). The technology then allows matching to be performed on two anonymised datasets using decentralised tokens to confirm a match, in place of PII.

Mr Gilligan, who is also co-founder and managing director of Reinventure Group, said working technology like Senate Matching is proof that innovation and privacy can coexist.

“There’s this view that privacy and innovation are two ends of a seesaw and that in order to go after one, you have to sacrifice the other he told

“With technology like Senate Matching we’re able to snap that seesaw in half – to both minimise systemic risk and maximise innovation.”

“It doesn’t have to be a conversation about either privacy or innovation, it’s possible to have both if you’re smart about the way you embed privacy-by-design principles into technology itself.”

Senate Matching operates in conjunction with Data Republic’s existing legal framework and governance platform for data sharing.

Customer consent for matching will be required and data owners will retain complete control of shared datasets, match requests, permitted-uses, licensing terms, and audit logs for all matched analytics activity.

Mr Gilligan said that when customer data is protected and applied effectively, there are only net winners.

“If we can replace all PII in the data economy with decentralised tokens, we can increase privacy protections for consumers, reduce data honeypot risk and shift the focus back to delivering the best possible outcomes for individuals and society, not just protecting PII scattered across the system,” he said.

“As an example, we have done this before with credit cards in e-commerce. The move to standard form capture and tokenisation of credit cards lead to both increased security and spurred massive growth in e-commerce.

“Applying those lessons to PII can enable growth in the data economy with increased security the same way.”

Senate Matching is being launched as part of a phased release program, initially available to select strategic partners and customers, with more companies being added to the network over the next few months.

Mr Gilligan foresees that the technology will be quickly adopted by almost every sector.

“Whether its consumer-facing brands matching data for personalisation or marketing, insurers or banks matching data to build a credit score, or governments matching data to verify your identity or address for the next election. It’s all matching executed at varying levels of information security,” he said.

“I think we’re going to see the fastest adoption of this technology by highly regulated industries, like banking and insurance, who have latent problems like Digital ID, Know Your Customer and Audit Money Laundering to solve, but are challenged by the sensitivity and information security risks of the data being matched.”

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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