Uber hosted the second edition of its Ignite series, bringing together industry experts to discuss how organisations can strike the balance between innovation and consumer protection when it comes to data. The event saw the panelists engage in collaborative conversation and explore tangible solutions to enhance data security in the region.

The discussion was moderated by Uttara Sivaram, Global Head of Privacy and Security Public Policy at Uber, who hosted panelists including Sam Tayan, Head of MENAP at Zoom; Marwa Fatafta, MENA Policy Manager at Access Now; and Bahaa Othman, Head of Information Security and Compliance at Fawry. 

Uber Ignite MENA

Key discussion takeaways were as follows: 

Balancing Customisation and Data Privacy

Consumers are seeking more control over their data and increasingly require transparency from businesses to explicitly on how their data is used. There is an expectation to abide by regulatory frameworks that place limitations on using data beyond specified purposes. Businesses also need to narrow down on what’s relevant and gather data that is genuinely expected to improve consumers’ experience, drive innovation or solve a particular challenge. It’s important to stay in context. 

The Evolution of Data Regulation

With governments around the world starting to draft privacy regulations, the world is witnessing new challenges and opportunities that impact businesses and consumers. For the MENA region, an integrated approach, similar to GDPR needs to set the benchmark and create a clear compliance environment for businesses, and foster greater regional economic integration. 

Demonstrating Privacy Compliance

National and regional regulatory frameworks must clearly define how a business can demonstrate privacy compliance. For example, the GDPR provides businesses/organisations with a set of tools to help demonstrate accountability, some of which have to be mandatorily put in place.

The Positive Use of Data in Innovation

Data-driven innovation can improve and foster new products, processes and methods. For businesses, it promises the optimisation of value chains, more efficient use of labour and tailored customer relationships. For the public sector, it can help create a connected city with better infrastructure, smart solutions & develop efficiencies. 

The Uber Ignite series launched in January 2021. The series brings together thought leaders, regulators, corporates, start-ups and innovators to collectively address a number of urban challenges faced in the MENA region. It aims to equip guests with the knowledge needed to unlock and maximize technology-focused opportunities for growth in our communities

Uttara Sivaram, Global Head of Policy & Security at Uber, said; Consumers around the world want to better understand how their data is being used and protected, increasingly asking whether they can trust companies and governments with their information. Discussions like today's, led by business and policy experts, demonstrate that cross-sector collaboration has the potential to empower consumers when it comes to their data while supporting technological advancement in the MENA region.