Ernst & Young (EY) has launched a data privacy competition at Canary Wharf’s Level39 technology hub in a bid to help its clients respond to the business challenges posed by the “right to be forgotten”. 

EY believes that the “right to be forgotten” will increase consumers’ awareness of their rights to their own data and will mean that businesses will need to consider issues around reputation management, consumer trust, compliance and operational efficiency. 

EY also referred to the recent raft of security breaches, which also highlighted the importance of data protection and privacy in the increasing digitisation of businesses, and has made this a board issue for data-driven organisations. Increased collaboration, and giving support to those startups innovating in this space, will be crucial in addressing this.

The competition is being launched just months after the European Union passed a ruling that reinforced Europeans' "right to be forgotten" by search engines like Google and Bing. 

EY said it believes that, through working together, innovative technologies can be honed and tailored to respond to the business impacts of this topic.

The professional services firm said it will ofer six startups mentoring from from EY, its major clients and other leading industry professionals.

EY said the winners will also have the opportunity to showcase their technologies - including data capture, processing and data erasure - to influential stakeholders.

EY designed the programme in conjunction with innovation specialists, Pivotal Innovations, based at Level39.

Eric Van der Kleij, head of Level39 and director of Pivotal Innovations, said: “Data security and “the Right to be Forgotten” are becoming even more critical issues for both business and consumers in light of upcoming changes to European legislation.

“The “Right to be Forgotten” throws up new challenges in areas such as data capture, privacy, and in the rapid response to removal requests. Dealing with these challenges can be complex and expensive, due to the financial and reputational risk to businesses, and the impact of non-compliance.”

Robert Walker, EY advisory sector lead for TMT, said: “We’re very much looking forward to helping innovative tech startups tackle this topic. This programme will give startups much needed access to big business and help our clients respond to the challenges posed. Innovation is the key to business success so it’s a win-win solution which will see startups benefitting from business leaders and vice versa.”

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