Meet the Guardians: Renata Avila

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Renata Avila

“Yoti is one of the rare companies placing people’s rights, especially people’s right to privacy, at the centre of its mission and coding it into the design of its product. This is important because laws and business practices are lagging behind the rapid pace of innovation in technology. I’m honoured and excited to offer my perspectives on digital inequality and human rights best practices as Yoti works to overcome the challenge of the next decade: restoring trust. I hope we can make the Guardian Council a good practice that will spread across this sector and others.”


Yoti Guardian Council

Yoti Guardians are influential individuals who ensure that Yoti always seeks to do the right thing, and that we are transparent about what we are doing and why. Guardians will bring their expert, independent perspectives and skills to three main responsibilities:

  1. Making sure Yoti optimises its products, services and partnerships to make life simpler for its user community.
  2. Ensuring Yoti stays consistent with its mission to build trust and give the user control of their personal data.
  3. Reporting any breaches of trust and representing any concerns shared by a significant percentage of the user community.


Renata Avila

Renata is a human rights and intellectual property lawyer, and an outspoken advocate for freedom of expression, privacy, access to information and indigenous rights. Renata is from Guatemala, but now lives in Berlin, and travels around the world regularly.

Renata started her career in the legal domain, representing victims of genocide in Guatemala, and then moved into research, policy advocacy and public speaking on issues of surveillance, open internet principles, and transparency. She has advised organisations such as the Open Society Foundations, the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers and the World Bank.

Working with Tim Berners-Lee and others at the World Wide Web Foundation, Renata leads the Web We Want initiative, aiming to push for a positive, rights empowering internet. The initiative, which has engaged millions of individuals and organisations around the world, aims to shape the Web in a way that is rooted in the UN Declaration of Human Rights, including principles very relevant for Yoti’s work:


Freedom of expression online and offline.
Affordable access to a universally available communications platform.
Protection of personal user information and the right to communicate in private.
Diverse, decentralised and open infrastructure.
Neutral networks that don’t discriminate against content or users.


Renata also founded Creative Commons Guatemala (which enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools), and is a member of the global Creative Commons Board.

Renata brings a principled voice to the Guardian Council to ensure that Yoti maintains the highest standards of respect for user privacy, and stays on the forefront of legal issues around individual privacy and digital rights. Renata will also be able to help Yoti identify partner organisations with shared interests around using cutting edge technology in ways that support human rights.

The best place to stay up to date on Renata’s work is through her personal blog and also on Twitter (@avilarenata).