Trilateral Research: A Data-driven Advisor Safeguarding Privacy, Ethics, And Human Rights
Kush Wadhwa, CEO, Rachel Finn, Senior Practice Manager
Although research firms like Gartner predict that companies will be valued on their information portfolios by 2022, existing accounting standards do not permit intangible assets such as data to be capitalised on the balance sheet. And yet, thought leaders, innovators, and market researchers comprehend the invaluable potential of consumer data in nurturing organisational growth and are constantly investing in tech that harvest user data to meet this end. Consequently, the phenomenal development of connected devices and advanced data technologies, along with the availability of affordable data storage, transfer, and processing capabilities, has enabled businesses to gain competitive intelligence (consumer data) on demand. To regulate how organisations handled the information of those who interacted with them and harmonise data privacy laws across all of its members, the EU implemented GDPR across Europe. While the origins of GDPR are common knowledge to industry leaders, the same cannot be said for their expertise in moulding digital operations to conform to these guidelines.
These regulations are often perceived as a double-edged sword. At the same time, complete adherence to the laws ensures sustainability, non-compliance of any nature could quickly turn catastrophic for businesses aspiring to establish a foothold in the industry. For example, in July 2021, the titan enterprise Amazon was dealt a massive blow by GDPR fines to the tune of £636m for failing to comply with Luxembourg’s privacy legislations. When GDPR fines can cripple even multi-billion dollars organizations, budding or medium-sized firms need a firm grasp of the legislation before expanding their business models.
With a profound experience of navigating through the intricacies of GDPR, Trilateral Research has established itself as a reliable, sociotechnical partner that couples data-driven technologies and customer-centricity to drastically improve organisations’ security posture. The company’s teams include social scientists, data scientists, ethical, legal and human rights experts who work across the socio-technical disciplinary divide and bring enterprises and consumers closer to each other. Trilateral Research strives to implement rigorous, cutting-edge research when developing and assessing new technologies to achieve sustainable innovation and measurable impact.
Well-Versed in the Intricacies of GDPR
“We help organisations protect themselves, safeguard customers, and contribute to better business practices,” begins Rachel Finn, Senior Practice Manager at Trilateral Research who runs the Data Protection and Cyber-Risk Service. In addition to helping firms stay in line with GDPR laws, the team works with clients to build holistic relationships with their customers.
We have a comprehensive understanding of what the legislation requires and the rationale behind the legislation as well. It is our collaboration with data protection authorities that help us to bring that in-depth understanding directly to our clients
Per the company’s philosophy, only after establishing social well-being can data indeed be considered and utilised as an asset, which can transform potential risks in the client’s security stance into strengths that ensure greater profit margins and a trustworthy brand.
Since its inception in 2004, the UK and IE-based enterprise has fervently contributed to research in the latest tech in data protection. It has developed novel ways to safeguard privacy, ethics and human rights within the public and private sectors. A truly unique aspect about Trilateral, which also lends immense credibility to the company’s expertise, is that the organisation played a significant role in assessing the social and economic impact of GDPR in 2011—a year before its public release. Additionally, Trilateral Research has also partnered with various data protection authorities to develop tools and training methodologies that comply with data protection regulations. Such diverse experience gives the company a competitive edge in understanding the evolution of privacy legislation and educating clients on the intention behind the regulations. The latter is essential in building meaningful relationships with clients and their consumer base.
Trilateral Research also collaborates with data protection authorities of all 27 member states in the EU (and the UK ICO) and has developed methodologies and tools that help businesses address many compliance requirements. “We have a comprehensive understanding of what the legislation requires and the rationale behind the legislation as well. It is our collaboration with data protection authorities that helps us to bring that in-depth understanding directly to our clients,” adds Rachel.
Delivering Sustainable Innovation for Societal Well-Being
Rachel explains how Trilateral Research identifies and combats common yet often unaddressed issues among the clientele. Poorly judged technology deployment can result in users’ poor take-up and adoption rates, or in more extreme cases, cause a public backlash or lead to failed product launches. Research shows that one of the reasons for poor tech deployments is that leaders fail to comprehend legislations and their intricacies. “Although everyone can read the laws, implementing compliant technology in the right context and under appropriate circumstances is quite the challenge. Minimising data collection and usage for individual projects is a clear pain point for organisations,” continues Rachel.
Another concern that plagues many enterprises is personalising their innovations to comply with GDPR. Since GDPR is technology-neutral, many of the laws need to be translated by leaders to match the industry they’re working within, and they need to discern how it applies to their tech. Although it is in their power to download templatised guides to help them achieve this, an experienced data governance partner such as Trilateral Research can prove invaluable in translating legislation to match clients’ needs.
Trilateral’s robust privacy- and ethics-by-design approach guides innovation projects from proof of concept to commercialisation to ensure alignment with societal expectations. Discussing this ideology, Kush Wadhwa, CEO of Trilateral Research, states, “We differentiate ourselves from the competition by combining social and technical sciences to create a sociotechnical approach to tackle the domain-specific challenges that our clients face.” Whether helping clients extract the most value from their collected data or leveraging AI applications to the fullest, the team at Trilateral provides their deep-rooted expertise in technology, social impact, and the law. “We look at the lawfulness of collecting the data, and we examine its accuracy and necessity to the organisation. We also analyse any data sharing mechanisms in place to ensure that the access to that data is lawful across different organisations,” Rachel adds.
We differentiate ourselves from the competition by combining social and technical sciences to create a sociotechnical approach to tackle the challenges that our clients face
Fostering Safe and Ethical Data Use
Through its holistic understanding of GDPR, the company helps businesses transform their data into invaluable assets and empowers clients to steer clear of any potential hurdles that could hinder their growth trajectory. Elaborating on the point, Rachel discusses an instance where Trilateral Research has helped a major, publicly owned hospital manage its data-sharing processes. Performing the role of a data protection officer for the hospital, Trilateral Research reviewed the data shared across different portions of the client’s clinical process. The company helped the client comply with privacy regulations and executed more than 30 data sharing agreements over a relatively short period. This allowed the organisation to lawfully share patient data with other hospitals, labs, and research organisations. “A regulated sharing of patient data among clinical institutions has resulted in dramatically improving patient outcomes, furthering innovations in research practice, and providing hospitals with a clear understanding of the patient,” says Rachel.
In a similar vein, Trilateral Research has also expanded its services into verifying the integrity and lawfulness of data used by and shared amongst AI solutions. Since AI is essential in the growth of modern organisations, the data used by such solutions need to be well-curated, free from malware, and in line with present regulations. By providing information representative of purpose, Trilateral helps organisations make data viable for precise decision making. Currently, Trilateral Research is involved in implementing explainable AI, algorithmic transparency, and responsible machine learning within its solution while monitoring the new regulations from GDPR. “We are driving innovation in algorithmic transparency and responsible machine learning to assist companies in ensuring that their algorithmic output meets emerging ethical AI standards,” concludes Kush.
Management Kush Wadhwa, CEO, Rachel Finn, Senior Practice Manager
Description Within the public and private sectors, Trilateral Research provides research, consulting and ethical AI technologies, contributing to innovation and standards in privacy, ethics, and human rights protection. Through its comprehensive understanding of GDPR, the company helps businesses transform their data into an asset that enhances their business and reduces their risk. Trilateral’s robust privacy- and ethics-by-design approach guides innovation projects from proof of concept to commercialisation to ensure alignment with societal expectations. Trilateral Research also collaborates with data protection authorities of all 27 member states in the EU (and the UK ICO) and has developed methodologies and tools that help businesses address many compliance requirements