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Living by Design with Privacy by Design

Silhouettes of Business People and Security Concepts

Ensure Your Privacy and Gain Control Over Your Personal Information

Living “by design” is the practice of taking intentional and deliberate actions so that we can lead a more purposeful life. I use the term “purpose” in the sense of “on purpose” (with intention and desire) as well in the sense of “having a purpose” (having something important to focus your attention on and that fulfills you). As technology merges with almost every aspect of our daily life, it’s important to consider: How can we live more mindful lives through the intelligent use of technology?

A major part of living by design when it comes to technology involves embracing our privacy choices. When we do, we empower ourselves to use technology to benefit our lives rather than allowing technology to use us (or our data). We can be open to innovation instead of paralyzed by the fear of losing control over our personal information. Living by design includes cultivating privacy awareness through our knowledge and consciousness and developing a privacy practice to make thoughtful choices. In turn, living a purposeful life in alignment with our values enhances our creativity, self-expression, and joy.

Privacy by Design (PbD) is a concept that was developed by Dr. Ann Cavoukian, the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario Canada, to ensure that privacy becomes an organization’s “default mode of operation.” Under this framework, privacy is not an afterthought – rather it is purposefully incorporated into the development of products, services and operations. The objectives of PbD are twofold: For users it means ensuring privacy and gaining control over information, and for organizations it means gaining a sustainable competitive advantage. From a PbD perspective, privacy and innovation are not mutually exclusive.

Become a champion for privacy by familiarizing yourself with the PbD principles. You’ll not only be able to make conscious choices about the use of your information, but you’ll insist that companies with which you engage incorporate strong, intuitive privacy protections in their technologies and business practices.

Proactive, not Reactive; Preventative, not Remedial. Privacy measures should anticipate and prevent events that could invade your privacy.

Privacy as the Default. Personal data should be automatically protected as the default. Privacy protections are built into the technology with no additional user actions required.

Privacy Embedded into Design. Privacy is an essential component of the functionality. Privacy is integral – not something that is added on after the fact.

Full Functionality – Positive-Sum, not Zero-Sum. Privacy, security, as well as business goals and objectives are all accommodated in a win-win manner with no unnecessary tradeoffs.

End-to-End Security – Full Lifecycle Protection. PbD principles are embedded before user information is collected and extend throughout the entire lifecycle (including storage and deletion of data).

Visibility and Transparency – Keep it Open. The business practice or technology operates according to its stated promises and objectives (i.e., in its privacy policy and settings)

Respect for User Privacy – Keep it User Centric. User experience is paramount and product design incorporates user needs and limitations. User interests are protected when organizations offer strong privacy defaults, privacy notices and user-friendly privacy settings. Privacy issues and choices are presented in a way users understand.

Here are a few ways to incorporate Privacy by Design into your life

Be on the lookout for PbD concepts

There are three areas where PbD concepts are applied:

1. Information Technology. Technology can allow us to protect privacy. For example, privacy enhancement technologies like anonymization tools allow you to eliminate or minimize the personal data shared with organizations.

2. Accountable Business Processes. Privacy can be good for business and provide a competitive advantage. Gravitate towards organizations you trust and engage with technology that provides a clear privacy policy and meaningful privacy choices.

3. Physical Design. Physical assets and infrastructure should address privacy requirements. Be aware of your surroundings (e.g. pharmacies and waiting rooms in hospitals) where you may be asked to share your personal information. Stay tuned to news stories about data breaches. What steps have they taken to keep your information secure?

Don’t buy into common privacy myths

It’s easy to believe many privacy myths. Resist them:

Myth #1: Privacy is dead.

Privacy isn’t dead unless we let it be. You can choose to engage with technologies that protect and enhance your privacy.

Myth #2: No one cares about privacy anymore.

Privacy matters. Don’t be shy about being private. It’s okay to want protection for your personal information.

Myth #3: Enhanced security means diminished privacy.

Fear is the most common tool used to disarm privacy advocates. You don’t have to give up security to have privacy protections.

Seek out Privacy by Design Ambassadors

PbD Ambassadors are organizations (including Aislelabs and SpiderOak) and individuals (including yours truly) committed to spreading the word of PbD and advancing the case for embedding privacy protective measures in technology, processes and physical design.

Let me know in the comments how you are living by design when you use technology.

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