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The Evolution of LiveRamp’s Privacy Enhancing Technologies

  • 3 min read

Ian Fremaux

In this blog, I want to reflect on what’s happened in the data analytics technology space as a consequence of changes in consumer privacy. I also want to introduce some of the innovations that LiveRamp’s experts have been working on. 


Now whilst most of us in marketing technology went through significant upheaval when GDPR happened back in 2018, I always felt it was going to be very positive in the long run. There is definitely a pattern in tech of consumer demand driving legislation and standards which in turn drives technical innovation. This typically ends with the technology industry and our customers being in a much better place. 


The evolution of privacy and compliance

Back in the distant past of the early to mid 1990s I worked as a developer in the retail sector. Although this was before businesses were connected via the internet, the way payment card data was managed back then would have any CTO today having sleepless nights. This quickly changed in the early noughties with the advent of PCI compliance.  These standards forced business processing payments to improve their data management and also led to a raft of technical innovations and new tech players specialising in securely handling payments. 


The emergence of PETs

So what’s happened since GDPR & CCPA came into effect? Should we expect an equivalent of PayPal, helping to make the lives of brands & their customers easier? Unsurprisingly, a raft of vendors were quickly jostling for space to solve the operational aspects such as marketing consent management and compliance auditing. Under GDPR organisations face restrictions to sharing data with third parties, which is a challenge for advertisers who don’t have direct consumer relationships.  A second wave of emerging technology solutions are now being adopted that enable data collaboration for analytics. These are referred to as Privacy Enhancing Technologies or PETs.


Clean rooms and bunkers for data analysis are increasingly being offered by the walled gardens as well as other neutral SaaS vendors, including LiveRamp. However, these solutions still require data to move, which in turn requires time and effort from the business, IT and legal teams. Federated querying and analytics of data in-situ has the potential to allow businesses and their strategic partners to collaborate on data driven insights without this barrier. LiveRamp’s Phil Stubbings and Greg Gawron discuss Privacy Preserving Split Learning for federated machine learning in some detail in this latest blog post on PETs, which explains LiveRamp’s innovative new approach for advanced analytics without data movement.    


A win for the industry and the consumer

These emerging technologies promise to enable data-driven decision making for businesses without the cost and risk of data movement. This is great news for all parties – the data science teams wanting to access more valuable data, the CTOs & compliance officers responsible for data management and its security, and finally we, the consumers. As more and more brands strive to delight their customers, using data to understand and engage them has never been more crucial. The maturing of these technologies has the potential to be a great benefit of GDPR, CCPA and other privacy legislations.