EY seeks tech startups to address challenges of right to be forgotten

Professional services firm Ernst & Young is looking for startups to find technology solutions to the ‘right to be forgotten’ regulation

Professional services firm Ernst & Young (EY) is turning to technology startups as it seeks a way to manage the right to be forgotten.

EY hopes technologies such as data capture, data processing and data erasure will be useful in the company’s bid to tackle the business challenges of the right to be forgotten, which forms part of the forthcoming EU General Data Protection Regulation and gives individuals the right to ask search engines to remove personal information about them from the web.

EY has launched a competition for startups to be part of a collaboration between EY and its major clients.

Six successful applicants for the data privacy Startup Challenge will receive mentoring from EY and other industry professionals, as well as the opportunity to demonstrate their technologies to stakeholders. The startups will also receive "unprecedented access" to EY clients and potential new customers.

The overall winner will also have the opportunity to work with EY on secondment for “ongoing, hands-on expertise”.

Data security and the right to be forgotten are becoming critical issues for businesses and consumers

Robert Walker, EY advisory sector lead for technology, media and telecommunication, said the programme would give startups much-needed access to big business and help EY clients respond to the challenges posed by the right to be forgotten. 

"Innovation is the key to business success, so it’s a win-win situation – startups will benefit from business leaders and vice versa,” he said.

EY said the right to be forgotten would increase consumer awareness of their rights to their own data, so businesses will need to consider the impact around consumer trust, compliance, operational efficiency and growth.

Google has been inundated with take-down requests after Europe’s top court supported the controversial right to be forgotten in a landmark ruling earlier this summer.

Recent security breaches have also spurred EY to learn more from startups about the importance of data protection and privacy.

The competition has been designed with innovation specialist Pivotal Innovations, based at startup hub Level39. The head of Level39, Eric Van der Kleij, said data security and the right to be forgotten are becoming critical issues for businesses and consumers.

“The right to be forgotten throws up new challenges in areas such as data capture, privacy and the rapid response to removal requests,” he said. “Dealing with these challenges can be complex and expensive, due to the financial and reputational risk to businesses and the results of non-compliance.”

The EY Startup Challenge is now open for entries. It will run for six weeks from 3 November.

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