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Gib hosts Commonwealth conference in wake of global data revolution

Commonwealth Telecommunication 21-02-2018 (Photo John Bugeja) 65 representatives from across the Commonwealth attending Conference at the Gib University Opening speeches by the Secretary General Mr Shola Taylor from Nigeria and Sir Joe Bossano

Gibraltar needs to be at the ‘forefront’ of the global data revolution, Sir Joe Bossano said at the Commonwealth Telecommunications Conference yesterday.

The two-day conference held at the University of Gibraltar is on ‘The Data Revolution, Maximising Opportunities and Managing Risks’ and comes to a close today.

This is the first Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation conference to be hosted by Gibraltar with over 50 overseas delegates from a cross-section of nations.

The event is exploring ways of monetising data, legal obligations from holding data and ensuring that privacy and security remain at the top of the agenda.

The conference was opened by Sir Joe, Secretary General of the CTO, Shola Taylor, CEO of the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority, Paul Canessa, and Gibtelecom CEO Tim Bristow.

“On the concept of what is happening with data in the world we need to be at the forefront,” Sir Joe told the Chronicle.

“We are a service economy, we don’t manufacture, the way we make our living is entirely to do with data. Data is one of the foundations of the gaming industry. Data is just information. Every living organism requires to access information from its environment to live. It is vital to the survival of organisms.”

“Technology has given as the ability to analyse data in a volume and at a speed that was not possible before the computer age.”
Sir Joe added that cyber security is a “must” to ensure that customers’ data is protected.

He described how the customers, the jurisdiction and the company all have a mutual interest in cyber security. Customers who feel like providers are not protecting their data will stop using the service.

Mr Taylor highlighted there has been “concern across the globe” of how data is being protected and how the world is in the “early stages” of the data revolution.

Mr Taylor described how consumers are providing their data to service providers without asking how this information would be used and if it will be protected.

The meeting aimed to discuss the need for citizens to be aware of their data and how it can be monetised.

“For us it is important that citizens of commonwealth countries are full aware of the various issues around data protection,” Mr Taylor said.

He explained how data can be used for advertisements and has a value, but that consumers should be fully aware how their information will be used.

“At the end of the day there is value to the data that we are providing and there has to be an assurance that the data we are providing is only used for that purpose,” Mr Taylor said.

He added companies must delete data once it is no longer of use and ensure it is protected especially from negative use.
“Most people don’t know what they are signing up to,” Mr Taylor said.

“There is usually a long set of regulations and nobody reads them. People just sign off because they are eager to get into the internet world and suddenly somebody out there has a profile of them.”

Mr Taylor said this is good for business but there needs to be a balance between how data is used freely and what is protect.

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