DocuVision CEO talks privacy with Lourdes Turrecha, fellow at Santa Clara Law
On Rama’s journey from lawyer to privacy tech founder: Rama began his career as a UK solicitor, during which he had early exposure to handling privacy issues. In addition to his legal background, his experience as a curious consumer opened his eyes to how Big Tech and other entities collect, use, and monetize personal data. This led him to take the leap in founding DocuVision.ai with his technical co-founders, who also saw the same problem firsthand in their own experience as app developers.
On what Rama’s most excited about in the intersection of privacy and technology: Rama brought up two privacy and technology issues that he’s most excited about. First, he’s fascinated with the massive political changes in privacy. In many parts of the world, we’re collectively deciding how we want to define privacy. For example, in California alone, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) recently became enforceable, and California voters are about to decide the California Privacy Rights Act’s (CPRA) fate this November. Second, as a privacy tech founder himself, he’s thrilled by the number of companies responding to privacy problems by building innovative privacy tech tools that solve these problems. I couldn’t agree more with Rama on how exciting the rising privacy tech landscape is.
On privacy as a political compromise: We talked further about the privacy lines that we’re drawing. Rama predicts that the CCPA will likely become a baseline in the US. (We’ve already seen a surge of states model their privacy law proposals after the CCPA.) We highlighted the difficulty in balancing risks and making tradeoffs relating to privacy. The asymmetry of information that we get as a society will affect how the lines are ultimately drawn. We agreed that these privacy lines have to be a societal decision, informed by information about how different entities collect, use, share, and process our personal information.
On the privacy issues that concern Rama the most: First, Rama is concerned about Big Tech companies influencing the political privacy conversation and how the lines on privacy are ultimately drawn. He asked, thought-provokingly: Will the political process reflect our true privacy preferences? Are we properly informed to be able to do that? Do we have the right seats on the table? Second, Rama is concerned that different entities will always be looking to misuse our personal information because of its value. He predicts that we will likely see bad actors with increasing sophistication and ingenuity. In response, we need to do better as a society in understanding how our information is being used and keeping up with the pace of innovation.
Rama’s advice to those wanting to enter privacy & technology: Be curious. If privacy is something you find interesting, dig deeper and learn more about it.
Will the political process reflect our true privacy preferences? Are we properly informed to be able to do that? Do we have the right seats on the table? — Rama Veeraragoo
Episode Theme: Redaction
Rama walked us through redaction, particularly from the lense of how his startup’s product goes about redaction. Their product analyzes files with personal and sensitive information, which can be flagged for review and/or concealed through the application of a black box over them. He highlighted the importance of ensuring that redaction is irreversible, non-hackable, and non-machine readable. Rama revealed that they’re addressing these redaction challenges by removing the underlying personal and sensitive information, including related file metadata, in addition to the application of the standard black box over the personal and sensitive information.