The Brains Behind Big Data: Meet Umbel’s Chief Data Scientist

The data science industry is booming. Once the expertise of old school disciplines including mathematics or statistics, the science of data pulls theories and thoughts from a multidisciplinary view. No longer are the humanities excluded. After all, data is generated by people and in order to treat data as something worth studying, data scientists must keep the creators of their craft in mind. 

Few know this better than Umbel’s Chief Data Scientist and co-founder, Travis Turner, who in 2010 noticed the mass collection of user data often without user consent. He dreamed of a platform on which users could openly keep track of all the information they share with companies and help to protect them against third-party collectors that follow us all across the internet (and then sell our browsing data to the highest bidder).

“Data scientists must keep the creators of their craft in mind.”

From there, he helped to build Umbel, a data rights management platform, that helps companies looking to collect user data do so in an ethical way – i.e. by letting their users know when and why they are collecting data (and giving those users the opportunity to opt-out if they so choose). 

Here, Travis explains the methodology behind data science, the importance of data rights and collection transparency and what he believe the world will look like as big data becomes an even bigger part of our daily lives. 

On Data Science

“Data science is the practice of deriving patterns and insights and value from data.”

On Data Rights

“It’s necessary to protect data rights because the users oftentimes don’t understand what data they are providing when they are on the web, or what data they are giving up.” 

On Data Collection Transparency 

“Specify what data you are going to be asking for and how you are going to be using it. I think its important that users know how its going to be used and how it will benefit them.”

On the Future of Big Data


“The future of big data involves companies becoming specialized in handling data on behalf of their clients.”