Anonymization as a chance for the data economy:

Telefónica NEXT supports companies in protecting data privacy of Big Data

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How Telefónica NEXT anonymizes mobile network data
In the course of digitization, companies are generating great amounts of data. At the same time, the importance of data protection is rising as a result of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This raises the question of how companies can use Big Data in a legally compliant manner and in the interests of their customers. Telefónica NEXT sees the anonymization of data as an opportunity for the data economy. Therefore, the corporate start-up developed a TÜV-certified anonymization process. Analyses from anonymized mobile network data currently support traffic planning in Germany among others. Telefónica NEXT now also offers this procedure to other companies for their data, for example from the banking or insurance sector. "Data protection in Germany and Europe is a clear competitive advantage for us," says Jens Lappoehn, Managing Director of Telefónica NEXT for Advanced Data Analytics. "We have been using our anonymization process for around three years now to gain important insights for business and society from Telefónica Deutschland's data. With our process, other companies can also create added value from their data.” As a subsidiary of Telefónica Deutschland, Telefónica NEXT works with the anonymous mobile network data of over 45 million customer lines. These data are created as mobile phones communicate with mobile cell sites when using the internet or making calls. From this, Telefónica NEXT calculates movement flows in cities and between them. The data analyses helps transport planning on roads or rails as well as the stationary retail.

Certified data protection

With the so-called Data Anonymization Platform (DAP), Telefónica NEXT has developed an efficient procedure that anonymizes data reliably and at the source. The patented process consists of several automated steps, both technically and organizationally distributed in separate high-security data centers. In addition, the data is modified during the anonymization process and, if necessary in the context of the respective analysis, generalized or deleted. In this way, no conclusions can be drawn about individual persons. "We have shown with DAP that consistent data protection with the very high standards of the DSGVO and valuable analytical applications are not contradictory. We are convinced that analyses of anonymous data from different industries can also become an advantage for Europe as a business location", says Jonathan Ukena, who shaped the anonymization process and manages Big Data Privacy Services at Telefónica NEXT. With regards to mobile network data, Telefónica NEXT has solved the data protection requirements with the help of the DAP – in close coordination with the Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Information Security (BfDI). The DAP is also certified by the TÜV Saarland with the seal "Geprüfter Datenschutz".

Telefónica NEXT is a partner for digitization

Movement flows in Germany - based on Telefónica NEXT’s data analysis
Using data, but safely – Others should benefit from this as well. The patented Data Anonymization Platform is now available for other companies and industries to use. Through anonymization, the DAP enables analysts to combine and evaluate data from various internal and external sources. "We see great potential for the use of the platform not only for mobile network data, but also in banking and insurance, in the automotive industry or with energy suppliers. The healthcare industry is another area where safe forms of big data analytics can be of great value," says Jonathan Ukena. Telefónica NEXT comprehensively supports its partners in implementing the necessary processes and technical set-up. This includes the anonymization of data in the system of the customer, so that sensitive data with personal references are not even transferred.