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18 Privacy By Design Techniques

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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.


Allowing 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 Minimization

Minimizing the information in audit trails as far as the law will allow.

Compliance Transparency

Governments 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 Terms

Legal agreements such as privacy terms that are readable, unambiguous and as simple as possible.


Asking for consent before collecting data such as sensor data or tracking ids.

Data Liberation

Allowing users to download the data that you have about them.


Storing and processing information locally as opposed to sending it over a network for storage and processing on a server or cloud platform.

Design Transparency

Communicating how you collect, process and use personally identifiable information.


Using strong encryption for all network communications and data in storage.

Ephemera Design

Designs 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 Sensors

Sensor recordings such as sound, video and geospatial information that is processed but not stored in a data repositoy.

Information Minimization

Minimizing data collection to information that you truly need to provide a service.

Information Security

Preventing 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 Functionality

Products 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 Default

Options that are set to the most private settings by default.

Privacy Guarantees

Explicit privacy guarantees such as stating that voice commands are not stored.

Retention Limits

Placing limits on data retention such as deleting all data associated with old accounts after a period of inactivity.

True Deletion

Deleting data as opposed to setting a deletion flag. Physically wiping data from storage also enhances privacy.


This is the complete list of articles we have written about privacy.
Big Brother
Creeping Normality
Cultural Lag
Data Liberation
Data Risks
Data Subject
Default Effect
Information Security
Media Literacy
Offline Software
Personal Data
Personal Information
Privacy By Design
Smart Cities
Social Data
Technology Ethics
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Personally Identifiable Information

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Personal Information

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Data Subject

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