18 Privacy By Design Techniques
John Spacey, updated on January 14, 2023
Privacy by design is the practice of embedding information privacy in the design of technology. This goes beyond viewing privacy as an afterthought, risk or compliance issue by incorporating it as a driving goal of design. The following are examples of techniques that can be used to improve information privacy.
AnonymityAllowing users to remain anonymous as far as it's practical and legal. For example, allowing users to use pseudonyms as opposed to their real name.
Audit Trail MinimizationMinimizing the information in audit trails as far as the law will allow.
Compliance TransparencyGovernments may require services to capture and retain certain information. They may also make requests for such data. Compliance transparency is the practice of communicating such occurrences to the public. In many cases, governments may gag such communications.
Comprehensible TermsLegal agreements such as privacy terms that are readable, unambiguous and as simple as possible.
ConsentAsking for consent before collecting data such as sensor data or tracking ids.
Data LiberationAllowing users to download the data that you have about them.
DecentralizationStoring and processing information locally as opposed to sending it over a network for storage and processing on a server or cloud platform.
Design TransparencyCommunicating how you collect, process and use personally identifiable information.
EncryptionUsing strong encryption for all network communications and data in storage.
Ephemera DesignDesigns that temporarily use information and then forget it. For example, a voice command system that determines the meaning of a command but doesn't store audio data or its machine representations.
Forgetful SensorsSensor recordings such as sound, video and geospatial information that is processed but not stored in a data repositoy.
Information MinimizationMinimizing data collection to information that you truly need to provide a service.
Information SecurityPreventing unauthorized access, use, modification and destruction of information. Information security is a broad practice that is incorporated into design, development, quality assurance, infrastructure, processes, operations and management.
Offline FunctionalityProducts that have no capability to connect to computer networks tend to have less privacy and information security issues. Customers may be uncomfortable with minor tools, electronics and appliances such as a toaster connecting to external networks.
Privacy By DefaultOptions that are set to the most private settings by default.
Privacy GuaranteesExplicit privacy guarantees such as stating that voice commands are not stored.
Retention LimitsPlacing limits on data retention such as deleting all data associated with old accounts after a period of inactivity.
True DeletionDeleting data as opposed to setting a deletion flag. Physically wiping data from storage also enhances privacy.
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