Data Science

LiveRamp for Developers Recap – Session 2: Data Science with Datafleets

July 21, 2021  |   Randall G.

On Wednesday, July 14, we presented the second of seven webinar sessions for our LiveRamp for Developers series, which runs until August 17, 2021. If you missed this session, you can still “register to attend,” which will allow you to view the video on demand. From that page you can also register to attend future webinar sessions.

This second session was focused on data science and was a follow up from our first data science session during last fall’s RampUp Worldwide Virtual Summit. Last fall, Arnaud Bohelay, Head of Product for Safe Haven, led a session introducing the Safe Haven product that enables next-generation data partnerships and allows natural data-sharing relationships between brands and their partners in order to deliver the best possible customer experiences. If you’re a retailer, Safe Haven allows you to collaborate with your CPG suppliers and provide them the insights they need to better serve your mutual customers.

In February, we acquired DataFleets, whose technologies include privacy-preserving data controls to keep useful data private and private data useful. The session was led by David Gilmore, Head of Privacy Tech Solutions at LiveRamp, and Nick Elledge, Head of Operations for Privacy Tech Solutions at LiveRamp. Isaac Hales, a Senior Product Manager at LiveRamp provided a demonstration of the SQL editor within LiveRamp’s Safe Haven solution.

Elledge started off the session by providing an overview of macro trends that users may already be experiencing in cloud data fragmentation and governance.


Data Fragmentation

Data is becoming more fragmented because data sovereignty and protection laws within and between countries don’t allow certain types of data to be aggregated. It’s also happening because different lines of business are operating and collecting various data. For instance, LiveRamp’s work with a leading retailer has data coming in from the web, from outlet stores, and from apps, as well as from other retail stores and partnerships. All of those different sources and lines of business lead to fragmentation. 

Another problem is the increasingly complex regulations around the sourcing and use of data and data privacy. Today there are over 100 countries that either have passed or are proposing modern data privacy laws, plus the coming depreciation of third-party cookies and iOS 14.5 are becoming increasingly complex to navigate. It’s not just GDPR and CCPA anymore. It’s a web of different regulations, some of which are industry-specific.

One of the problems DataFleets and LiveRamp are trying to solve is the growing need to collaborate. Walled gardens and other large entities are keeping data mostly to themselves. There’s also the sensitivity of internet protocol (IP) around data. Even with a data set that is not guarded by privacy regulations, customers don’t want to expose that data in collaboration use cases. For example, financial services customers don’t want to reveal their trading algorithms, healthcare professionals don’t want to reveal exactly where they’re investing, and retailers don’t want to expose pricing and promotion strategies to partners. 


David took over next and reflected on his career as a data scientist. In the past, he had access to sensitive data across government, finance, and healthcare, but he sees a new paradigm coming—one where DataFleets fits into the equation. 


Federated Data and the Current State of Privacy Enhancing Technologies

Federation, David explained, is basically virtually networking multiple databases, all of which are connected by a privacy firewall. Some customers can choose to actually upload that data into a cloud. That makes it easier for them, if they don’t want to manage their own infrastructure, but if they do want to manage their own infrastructure and keep their data in their technology stack they can. It stays within their cloud and then deploy behind it, and then it phones home to a centralized coordinator.

This will allow multiple parties to retain full control over their data but also be able to collaborate with other parties so that if one party is in one cloud and second parties are in a different cloud, they can still collaborate and can still keep their data in their environments. Each of those datasets are protected by the privacy firewall, so you can have both the privacy controls as well as the challenges that come from collaborating with different institutions and multiple parties.

We often think of this as configurable trust. Sometimes we also refer to it as programmable privacy. Now in order for us to do this one of the key insights DataFleets discovered was that there was no single privacy technology that was a panacea. These problems couldn’t be solved with just differential privacy. You couldn’t solve it with just statistical disclosure control,  a subset of which is better known as query thresholds or query limits. Synthetic data is another approach, and there are also hardware approaches. Trusted execution environments, confidential computing, etc. There’s no shortage of different approaches

But, the reality is that they all have their own strengths and weaknesses, and none of them are a panacea. And that’s just the reality of the current state of privacy enhancing technologies. What that means, when driving impact through innovation, is that we have to really take a holistic approach to how solutions are built. This is a challenge to do because each of these approaches in their own right and complimenting technology are complex. Putting in the hard work of actually pulling out the best of each of these technologies and applying them in ways that drive for impact in these use cases is necessary to really build a commercially ready platform in this space. This has been created with DataFleets, which is now being incorporated within LiveRamp solutions.


A Preview of LiveRamp’s Safe Haven

In the session, participants also got to see a demo from Isaac Hales – Head of Operations for Privacy Tech Solutions. Isaac demonstrated a preview of the SQL editor within LiveRamp’s Safe Haven solution.


Next Steps

If you’re interested in learning more about how DataFleets and LiveRamp can help solve these types of problems, as well as the answers to some of the questions discussed in this recap, check out the session on demand by registering. In addition, if you’d like to take a deeper dive, please reach out to us via the contact form, to get in touch with experts that can lead you through discovering your specific challenges, as well as the solutions we have to offer.

You can take a tour of the LiveRamp Developer Portal and view the upcoming sessions, which will be focused on individual APIs. They will be led by our product managers for each of the APIs and their engineering counterparts. Also, take a tour of the portal, so you can understand how the APIs can be utilized. There will be Q&A at the end of presentations to allow you to get your questions answered by the teams actively working on the APIs.

Lastly, the best way to stay up to date on LiveRamp’s offerings, from data science to APIs, and beyond, is to subscribe to our engineering blog.