Interview with Katryna Dow

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Katryna Dow is one of the speakers at IDnext ’21. She is the founder and CEO of Meeco; a personal data & distributed ledger platform that enables people to securely exchange data via the API-of-Me with the people and organisations they trust. Katryna has been pioneering personal data rights since 2002, when she envisioned a time when personal sovereignty, identity and contextual privacy would be as important as being connected. Now within the context of GDPR and Open Banking, distributed ledger, cloud, AI and IoT have converged to make Meeco both possible and necessary.

In this short interview we asked Katryna if she thinks that customer awareness on data sovereignty and control of data has been raised in the last couple of years, and what will be her main toppic of her presentation at the IDnext event.

We are delighted to have you back at our annual IDnext event. For those who do not know Meeco yet. What is the main mission of Meeco?
Our mission at Meeco is to provide the tools to enable everyone on the planet to get equity and value in exchange for the data they share.

What has been the main challenge for you and Meeco since COVID came into force in the past 12 months?
Like everyone there’s a COVID story to tell along with some new challenges. For me personally, it was a very unexpected requirement to adapt to new surroundings. I arrived in Brussels in early March 2020 for what was planned to be a short business trip (a few weeks), and then everything changed. I was grounded in Belgium amidst the early lockdowns, and then Australia closed the borders, so returning home was not an option. Instead, we used this time at Meeco to adapt to be a distributed team. We focused on modularizing and documenting our tech stack and launching a developer portal, whilst also growing the team. I wouldn’t say it has been easy, but I can say that it has been incredible to watch the growth and be inspired by new team members and witness their adaptability over this past year. Amidst all the challenges, here’s a quick 90 second sample of some of the things our product and experience team have been working on.

In an interview you quoted the French cultural theorist Paul Virilio (1932-2018) ’When you invent the ship, you invent the shipwreck’. A quote that relates with data sovereignty and control of data. Do you think that awareness has been raised by customers about this important topic in the last couple of years?
I am not sure about the customer awareness, but COVID has completely changed our digital lives forever. Just as September 11 changed global travel, the post COVID digital world will be entirely different. For a start, it has highlighted how unprepared many service providers were to offer digital channels. Identity and trust are emerging as issues across all sectors for onboarding, crossing borders, accessing healthcare or starting a new job. We are at a very important time in the digital design of how we want society to function with respect to access, authentication and authorization. I use those words instead of identity – because the word “identity” is so loaded. If we can focus on designing for each step, we can minimize data collection, data tracking and digital harm and thus avoid some of the inevitable shipwrecks. However, if we don’t, then we are creating a lot of problems for generations ahead.

What can we expect from your presentation at the annual IDnext event?
That’s a good question…if we want to avoid the shipwrecks, I’d like to look at some of the new challenges we have ahead. With more and more digital adaptation we are connecting our physical and digital worlds. The opportunity for convenience is increasing, yet the likelihood of privacy is decreasing. How do we balance these trade-offs? Will the companies that find this balance foster greater loyalty? Alongside the need for enterprises to adapt, the distributed world is becoming more and more mainstream. Can we challenge ourselves to find the middle road, where we create great customer experiences that are also Privacy and Security by Design?


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