Data Zoo ‘builds trust,’ sets new standard for privacy, security


Data Zoo chief executive Tony Fitzgibbon will tell you his career didn’t begin in the data space – even though he has now become ultra-passionate about “solving the issue of trust” in an increasingly digitised world.

In fact, he started as an accountant before deciding to “take the leap” as an entrepreneur, launching two startups that were ultimately sold to publicly listed global businesses.

“When I started Data Zoo over ten years ago …I saw the regulatory landscape and the risks surrounding data were rapidly changing, and was motivated to create a global identity solution that would give customers confidence in how organisations handle their data.”

He soon realised that the existing digital business models would collapse if they continued with a centralised approach to managing customer data.

“This was when the decision to replace the personal data grab with a new norm occurred, leading to a shift where individuals could make meaningful claims to data ownership and control.”

Ten years on, and Mr Fitzgibbon said innovation in the digital identity market – which is worth $210 billion – is still very much at the heart of the company’s vision: To create something new and innovative that changes the way companies interact with their customers.

Data Zoo has been named a finalist in the Software Innovation category in the 2022 InnovationAus Awards for Excellence, and is on a mission to create a future where everyone can interact safely and securely within the digital environment. You can book your seat at the 2022 Awards – to be held at The Cutaway venue at Barangaroo in Sydney on November 17 – by clicking here.

“Our goal is to change how businesses collect and store customer data on a global scale. For us, this means we will continue to work towards reducing centralised control of end-user information and give control back to the identity owner.”

Building ‘mutual trust’

The Data Zoo product is IDUX, a digital identity ecosystem for businesses to build mutual trust. The technology creates a safe environment in which companies and their customers can interact.

“With IDUX, businesses can easily build confidence in who their customers are, while also putting them in control of their data and providing peace of mind through transparency,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.

“As our lives increasingly move online, we will rely on digital identity more to access various services. The digital wallet will enable identity owners to make online interactions smooth and secure while controlling personal information.”

Indeed, a digital experience, where identity owners are asked to create and maintain a separate identity for each online service that they use, is impractical, he noted.

“Instead, IDUX offers a digital identity that is secure and portable via its Bring Your Own Identity (BYOI) capability. This ability cultivates trust in the digital identity, decreasing the need for a central body to validate the individual’s digital identity.”

In today’s digital landscape, organisations face the challenge of expanding privacy regulations and increasing end-user expectations for data handling transparency.

“Our research shows that current market solutions lack transparency in handling data and do not offer users sufficient control over their data. Data Zoo meets this market need by providing an ecosystem that facilitates end-to-end privacy and security – thereby setting a new standard in the RegTech market.”

Cornerstone of success

It is this research that is crucial. The company has partnered with the University of Technology Sydney’s DigiSAS Research and Innovation Lab and established a Research and Innovation Committee.

“We are constantly developing research-backed patented technology that meets current and future needs. We’ve created a reliable identity ecosystem that builds trust and meets assurance needs while supporting the importance of the end-customer feeling safe and secure.

“Our identity ecosystem is built on well-known and globally accepted standards and regulations. We’ve adopted privacy by design principles to make it easy for businesses to confidently verify and onboard trusted customers.”

And the vision is spreading. In December 2021, the company hatched operations in the US, opened a New York office, and obtained a US Compliance Certification (CCPA).

“We have since signed a global contract for 20 countries with our first US strategic enterprise customer, equating to nearly one million identity transactions processed each month.”

Beyond US shores, the company has successfully entered the heavily regulated European market – going head-to-head with established global identity providers – and securing two large contracts, including one with one of the largest financial institutions in Germany.

Asked about other global activity, Mr Fitzgibbon said Data Zoo was the first company outside of China to get access to the China National ID Database.

“This was a major coup and led to us onboarding one of our Fortune 500 clients. We’re now an active current provider in Australia’s Consumer Data Right (CDR) ecosystem,” he said.

“This achievement means we can now integrate into the CDR ecosystem with unrestricted level access, the highest level of all access models, allowing us to offer innovative and privacy-aware services to consumers.”

The 2022 InnovationAus Awards – which celebrates excellence in the translation of Australian research into commercial and social impact outcomes – will be held in Sydney at Barangaroo’s The Cutaway on November 17. You can reserve your seat – or book a table – by clicking here.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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