Yves – Alexandre de Montjoye is a lecturer at Imperial College London’s new Data Science Institute. As a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard IQSS, his main field of research focuses on metadata privacy.
So Yves, tell us more about the OPAL initiative.
OPAL is a platform which enables companies to use private data for social good. As I see it, OPAL is a new way of looking at data in a way that you can preserve people’s privacy. It takes us back to the basics. The question is: why did the anonymization of data start? Because we needed a way to use data on a large scale to do statistics and, at the same time, it wasn’t going to affect you because we didn’t know which part of the data was yours. This is why everything started. OPAL is a question and answer system and the idea behind it is to replace the privacy guarantee that anonymization used to provide for small datasets in the past, by solid proofs and IT security.
“OPAL is turning a privacy question into a security question.”
“The fundamental difference of OPAL is that the platform allows you to use the data without giving you a copy of it.”