- Tech startup Inrupt launched its privacy platform for enterprises.
- Big Tech firms that partner with Inrupt to leverage its platform could help ease consumers' privacy concerns and drive uptake of their offerings in the process.
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Founded in 2018 by CEO John Bruce and English computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee—inventor of the World Wide Web—tech startup Inrupt unveiled its privacy platform for enterprises, per CNBC. The platform—an enterprise version of the startup's Solid platform—has already been adopted by organizations including the UK's National Health Service (NHS) and the BBC.
The platform's launch is a leap forward in Inrupt's efforts to give consumers control of their personal data. In comments made to Business Insider, Berners-Lee indicated the ultimate goal of Solid is to give consumers more say over how their data can be used, and stop this data from ending up in "social network silos." And in a recent blog post, Berners-Lee said these silos are primed for exploitation, with the threat of third parties looking to capitalize on user data "leading to increasing, very reasonable, public skepticism about how personal data is being misused."
To circumvent this issue, Inrupt is commercializing the Solid data architecture which gives consumers' control over their information by storing data in individual hubs known as "pods." For example, the NHS could add a patient's medical data into an individualized "pod," which that patient can then elect to share with other healthcare providers.
Consumer distrust of Big Tech is high—but tech firms that partner with Inrupt to leverage its platform could help ease consumers' privacy concerns and drive uptake of their offerings in the process. One example highlighting consumers' lack of trust in tech companies handling their personal information centers on patient health data: While consumers are more likely to share their personal health information as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the share of consumers willing to do so remains low.
For example, only 18% of US consumers are willing to share their personal health data with tech companies, per Deloitte's 2020 Health Care Consumer Response to COVID-19 Survey. Given consumers' continued reluctance to share their personal data with tech firms, we think tech giants could help assuage consumers' privacy concerns by tying up with Inrupt to leverage the enterprise version of its Solid platform.
Doing so could make consumers less wary of giving their business to companies like Amazon's PillPack, a prescription delivery startup that needs access to certain health-related consumer data due to the nature of its business. And while tech titans may ultimately decide to launch data management platforms of their own to protect consumers' personal data, the established level of distrust in these companies among the general public could make partnering with Inrupt a far safer bet.
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