Who has your data, and what are they doing with it?

'Every day there’s a data breach, and we pay the price.'

 Mine's data privacy platform. (photo credit: saymineapp.com)
Mine's data privacy platform.
(photo credit: saymineapp.com)

Gal Ringel is the CEO and co-founder of Mine, an Israeli-based data security platform built with the goal of enabling consumers to better understand and control their data footprint on the internet. The platform lists and categorizes the companies that hold users’ data, and allows them to easily request that their data be removed from those companies’ databases. Mine serves around one million consumers and helps more than 1,500 companies fulfill data removal requests using automated technology.

What was the philosophy behind starting Mine?

“When we started Mine, we knew that we wanted to solve something related to data privacy. We wanted to take our cybersecurity experience and funnel it for consumers for the first time. We knew that we really understood personal data, and we wanted to help consumers be safer online, and the key to our solution was the GDPR.”

The GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is a data protection and privacy regulation in EU law. It covers a range of topics, including data transparency, information access and the right to be forgotten.

“The GDPR pushed the entire privacy regulation forward. There are now similar rights in four states in the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa – it’s growing massively. What’s nice about it is that it’s increasing consumers’ awareness of their ability to exercise their rights regarding their data. That was the key to starting Mine.”

 Gal Ringel, CEO & co-founder of Mine. (credit: MINE) Gal Ringel, CEO & co-founder of Mine. (credit: MINE)

The public perception of companies that collect and utilize consumer data for their own benefit can, on occasion, be pretty negative. What’s Mine’s perspective on people giving their data for companies to use?

“Our vision at Mine isn’t to go against companies. We encourage consumers to use the Internet because we think it’s an amazing place. We as individuals need to measure cost versus value. Any time we use a new service, we ‘pay’ with our data – that’s the cost. What we get in return is the value that we get from their services. Any time the value is greater than the cost, it’s [a good transaction]. I’m okay with Netflix knowing what I watch, because I get a really good experience, a really good value. I’m okay with United being my primary airline and having my passport loaded in the app, because that shortens my check-in.

“There are other companies, though [that are more costly than they are valuable]. I booked five hotels in Central America for my honeymoon. They keep my passport, some of them keep my financial information, but I’m never going back there. Why would I let my data sit there forever? Every day there’s a data breach, every day there’s a privacy scandal and at the end of the day, we pay the price. Our data gets stolen, leaked out, and used against us.”

How many passwords do you use?

“Two hundred and forty three.”

What does the future of data security look like?

“When we started the company, our dream was to [work on] something called dynamic consent. Usually, any time you click ‘I agree,’ you feel icky because you feel that someone has taken something from you but you don’t know what, because nobody can really read privacy policies. Part of our technology behind the scenes is to use AI to analyze the policy for you.

“The vision of dynamic consent is to switch the equation. Instead of you needing to click ‘I agree’ and accepting the privacy policy, we want to create a future where you define your own privacy policy. You set your own terms on the types of data you want collected. Companies will need to honor that.”