Episode Archive

SCP E166 The power and peril of data in Smart Communities, with Debbie Reynolds

In this episode, I have a brilliant conversation with Debbie Reynolds, also known as The Data Diva. Debbie is a thought-leader and advisor to Multinational Corporations for handling global data privacy, cyber data breach planning and response, and complex cross-functional management of data-centric projects. 

In this episode, Debbie and I talk about the divide she saw growing up between the opportunities available in big cities like Chicago compared to nearby small towns and suburbs, and how that sparked her interest in the Smart Community space. Debbie shares with us the trends and considerations she sees related to the digital divide, and how it plays out differently in the US compared to Europe and elsewhere, plus why it’s so important to inform citizens about data  transparency, privacy and protection issues so that they can make informed decisions. We talk about the new data privacy laws in California that came into effect in January 2020 and the impacts Debbie expects, both at the individual citizen level and the big tech companies level. Now, we recorded this conversation in December 2019, so we talk about the California Consumer Privacy Act in future tense, but of course this episode is airing in April 2020 and so the CCPA is well underway now. 

Debbie shares her observations of what’s happening globally as the world moves towards more data ownership at different rates in different places and the challenges and opportunities of integrating and collaborating between disciplines, organisations and governments, especially with regards to data breaches and ransomware incidents. We finish our chat discussing the emerging trends of the prevalence of biometric data and also of ransomware attacks on public and private organisations. 

Also, just be aware that there are a couple of spots in this interview where the audio cuts out or clips the end of words, however it’s a brilliant conversation overall. As always we hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as we enjoyed making it!

Listen here: 

What we cover in this episode:

  • Debbie’s background working in technology and her interest in data privacy and cybersecurity
  • The divide Debbie saw growing up between opportunities available in big cities like Chicago compared to nearby small towns and suburbs, and how that sparked her interest in the Smart Community space
  • What a Smart Community is to Debbie and why it’s so important, especially with regards to data and opportunities for all
  • Trends and considerations Debbie sees related to the digital divide, and how it plays out differently in the US compared to Europe and elsewhere 
  • Why it’s so important to inform citizens about data  transparency, privacy and protection issues so that they can make informed decisions
  • The RealID process in the US and the way this potentially could increase the divide further 
  • The new data privacy laws in California as of January 2020 and the impacts Debbie expects, both at the individual citizen level and the big tech companies level
  • Some of the things Debbie is seeing globally as the world moves towards more data ownership at different rates in different places
  • The problems for citizens when tech companies have more power than governments and when we limit our information consumption to narrow sources that leave us vulnerable to manipulation
  • Some of the projects Debbie is currently working on 
  • The challenges and opportunities of integrating and collaborating between disciplines, organisations and governments, especially with regards to data breaches and ransomware incidents 
  • The emerging trends of the prevalence of biometric data and of ransomware attacks 

Quotes:

“I’m very interested in how people can best leverage data and not do it in a way to misuse or abuse it.”

“People who have more access to the urban environments likely have more access to data than in more suburban or rural environments, and especially with the internet age and modernity, that sort of split is continuing to happen. So for me, I feel like technology is a way to level the playing field between big towns and small towns in the community.”

“To me, a Smart Community is one that is truly leveraging the data that they have and being able to utilize or develop technology that best serves the community in some way.”

“There is a digital divide, regardless of what people think. There is a have and have not, not only in terms of money and access, but data [which] to me equals equals access.”

“In some of these rural areas, if you don’t have a car, you may not be able to have a job, you may not be able to pick up your children, it sort of stops your access to different things. So something as simple as having access to ride sharing has really helped people in their mobility and being able to do things like get different jobs or go to work or get their kids from daycare.”

“It’s very good to think about a great new thing that you can do. But you have to really be able to look at the ethics and the potential harms that a particular software solution or process may put in place and understand that there may be some people who are more vulnerable, and see how you can find a way to remedy that.”

“There’s a lot of data selling that happens, especially with US data because there hasn’t been any comprehensive consumer privacy laws in the US. So there really is a kind of a wild west mentality in some sense about how data is handled and how it is bought and sold.”

“I think that [ransomeware attacks are] going to continue to happen, especially if there isn’t enough information sharing between the public and the private sector, and more information about how to prevent that in the future for all types of organisations.”

Links: 

CCPA California Consumer Privacy Act 

GDPR Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation 

Connect: 

Connect with Debbie via her website www.debbiereynoldsconsulting.com 

Connect with me via email: hello@mysmart.community

Connect with My Smart Community via LinkedIn or Twitter and watch on YouTube

Podcast Production by Perk Digital

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