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Pryv: essential software for data-driven healthcare innovation

Interview with Evelina Georgieva CBDO & Co-Founder at Pryv SA

You’ve recently released your new privacy management product: Open Pryv.io. Tell me a bit about why you created it and what it can do.

We believe that Pryv.io will encourage innovation in data protection practice and greatly reduce duplication of effort by healthcare application developers. Releasing Pryv.io as open-source software is a natural move for us; it was always intended to be freely available.

Its release has come at a time when disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic has posed major challenges for developers who need to ensure that their applications process personal data securely. Such developers do not necessarily have in-depth knowledge of the implications of breaching data protection regulations. Often, these implications only occur to them when it is too late. We provide them with a free, full-production, easy-to-install open-source solution, so that they can collect and manage sensitive personal and health data appropriately from the start:https://www.pryv.com/2020/06/22/personal-data-consent-management/

How does it work? How does Open Pryv.io ensure the privacy of data?

Any developer can download Pryv.io from GitHub, along with detailed documentation and tutorials that will allow them to start building their applications within just a few minutes.

The product was designed with the decentralisation of the internet in mind. As a growing number of us work to change the rules of the game, a truly decentralised web is emerging. As the ways in which people use applications and online services evolve, however, there are increasing challenges in ensuring that personal data is handled securely.

Decentralisation of software architecture is ultimately necessary to ensure privacy, as centralised architecture involves centralised control, which means people do not truly own their own data. Pryv.io stores each account’s data separately: each account has its own database, which can be moved (and stored on its own dedicated server if necessary).

Pryv.io is our contribution to the evolution of online services and its data model is fundamentally ready for tomorrow’s web. Building on Pryv.io means your applications will be, too. You can read more here: https://www.pryv.com/data_in_pryv/.

Who is Pryv.io intended for?

It is aimed at development teams working on personal data-collecting and digital healthcare applications.

We provide developers with a tool that allows them to efficiently address the users’ rights to privacy and to ensure data management that is compliant with data protection regulations and user consent requirements. Our goal is to empower developers so that they can rapidly create privacy-compliant products and services that are scalable.

There are many digital solutions claiming to offer secure processing and storage of personal data. What extra benefits does Pryv.io provide?

Pryv.io does not itself process or store personal data; the makers of the digital solutions that you’re referring to are actually our potential customers. Their developers often focus primarily on usability. The recent developments in European privacy regulation, however, require such solutions to have embedded dynamic consent management and auditing capabilities to keep track of the usage and sharing of personal data. The companies offering these solutions are therefore accountable for the security, usage and retention of personal data.

By using Pryv.io, their solutions will be built on a ’privacy by design’ foundation, not ’privacy by default’, which involves patching an existing solution to meet the new regulations. Moreover, Pryv.io offers a wide set of technical features for developers, giving them the ability to work with high volumes of continuously collected real-time data without the need for in-depth privacy expertise.

How will your solution impact the future of personal data privacy?

Digital health applications are fast becoming an indispensable tool in our society, and because they collect sensitive personal and health-related data, it is of paramount importance that they ensure data privacy.

We envision a world where such privacy is the norm rather than the exception, and people can share their data with the confidence that it will be processed securely. The open-source availability of Pryv.io marks a turning point: it simplifies application development so that privacy requirements can be addressed with minimal time and expense. This, in turn, maximises developer productivity and helps to ensure business competitiveness.

Why did you join the Digital Health Hub?

Together, we are stronger: Digital Health Hub is a vibrant community that brings together a wide variety of digital health innovators and energises the integration of digital technologies in the life sciences sector. It brings together developers and providers of innovative solutions and companies or government bodies who can benefit from these solutions.

The Hub is a great way of networking, and this is probably the best reason of all to join. Even during the lockdown, you’ve been able to help us make valuable connections, so we’ve been very impressed.

We at Pryv are here to help too: Digital Health Hub members can use the open-source Pryv.io to boost and scale their digital health solutions at no cost, with full respect to privacy requirements, saving them months of costly development time. They can also rely on our ongoing commitment to help support innovation.