Interview with Jonathan Ukena of Telefónica NEXT

Jonathan is Senior Product Manager Big Data at Telefónica NEXT and created the Data Anonymization Platform (DAP). The TÜV-certified platform has evolved into the technical fundament, legal enabler and important value driver for many of the company's data-driven business activities. Based in Munich, Jonathan is responsible for the platform commercial strategy and its further development by a growing team of developers and analysts.

At the Privacy Conference 2017 Jonathan will give us a Best of Pseudonymization and Anonymization Techniques.


What is the biggest change for you in the new EU data protection framework?

With our mother company in the highly regulated German telecommunications market, we have already been operating under one of the strictest data protection laws worldwide. We have developed our Data Anonymization Platform (DAP) for mobile network data according to these standards and are currently in a certification process based on the GDPR requirements catalogue. Therefore, the upcoming regulations are actually giving us a head start. Our solution will be able to solve many of the challenges that the data protection framework entails now, for a wide range of data driven industries as well as businesses across Europe. This is why we are looking into rolling out our anonymization as a service for partners.

What GDPR topic requires the biggest efforts or most resources for implementation?

Companies handling personal data of customers are facing profound changes. Many will have to redesign data storage and processing from scratch, for instance to fulfill data portability requirements. Also, the regulations regarding customer opt-ins will bring a new level of complexity, especially when companies want to use data in various internal or even cross-company use cases. And what about businesses that are dependent on data analysis, if there is a need to provide services also without, or just a minimum, collection of data? In such cases, anonymization offers interesting ways to analyze data, while safely keeping personal data out of the game.

What privacy topics need to be discussed in the future?

The internet of things will tremendously boost the amount of available personal data and artificial intelligence will bring analytical capabilities to a new dimension. I believe these are given developments, hence I am convinced that ethical awareness and sustainable privacy will be fundamentally critical to their success. We are embracing and supporting a broad social discussion about how digitization influences privacy and freedom in different areas like health, education or mobility. Telefónica Germany invites experts out of politics, economy and society to discuss these very questions as speakers at Telefónica BASECAMP in Berlin. We believe that data driven business models will succeed by showing clear benefits for individuals and society and – most importantly – by letting users decide on how they want to use their data.

What are you looking forward to at the Privacy Conference?

I am working on strategies to enable valuable data driven businesses under strict data protection regulations in the telecommunication’s sector for around 6 years. As this topic has now become highly relevant also for numerous companies from other industries and countries, I am very excited to learn more about the specific challenges they are facing and discuss potential solutions.

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