The Growing Importance Of Privacy By Design

There can be no denying that the 21st century is defined by technology. It truly is a digital age and technological sophistication and proliferation is only going to increase as time goes on… which will present some interesting challenges and opportunities for businesses of all shapes and sizes, across all sectors and industries now and well into the future.

Growing amounts of personal data are now being stored and shared online, which is why it’s absolutely vital for designers and manufacturers of all kinds to make sure that protecting user data is a top priority so that people can rest assured that their privacy is fully protected. 

web design data protection

Making this a focus and ensuring that your customers know you’re doing all you can to look after them in this regard will only ever have positive ramifications for your business. People need to know that you’re trustworthy and that there are no risks involved when they do business with you… and this is a quick and effective way to go about achieving this.

A concept that’s coming increasingly to the fore is the idea of privacy by design, where the individual right to privacy is factored into every single stage and element of product and service design so that, no matter what, personal data is kept secure and fully private, achievable by following a set of principles and best practice guidance.

Of course, this is perhaps easier said than done and it can be tricky to implement the necessary principles across the entire design process and you may well find that by integrating privacy there are inadvertent consequences for your goods and services, as well as your overall user experience.

Best practices to consider when looking into privacy by design include data minimisation, designing for informed consent, implementing user authentication systems where appropriate, data anonymisation and ensuring that opt-out provisions are included wherever and whenever possible.

When it comes to software systems and privacy, it’s important to make sure that you’re well versed in all the latest trends for security protocols so you can see what’s possible and what might be applicable to you and your business. 

Vigilance is also absolutely key and you’ll need to make sure that you’re constantly testing your software and putting it through its paces so you know that it’s operating as it should, helping to prevent bugs, drive down development costs and improve overall performance standards.

There’s a huge amount that you can do where website and app development is concerned to help you design with privacy in mind, everything from security encryption to strong password requirements… but here are some ways in which you may want to consider implementing the main principles of the privacy by design framework into all your digital projects moving forward.


Display prominent privacy & data sharing notices

There are two main ways a website will collect personal data: automated and volunteered. The latter is the most typical scenario, with website visitors choosing to enter their own information via digital forms you’ve created.

Notice information should include how you may potentially use data and what will happen to it once it’s been submitted (such as how long you’ll store it for and where, or if it will be sent to a third party).

Automated data collection includes cookies, tracking scripts and so on and you’ll need to have notices that inform people of your cookie usage, while giving them an option to accept or refuse, as well as a way to opt-out.


Minimise data collection

Privacy by design means doing all you can to only collect the data you know you’re going to need in order to maintain your service provision. 

Another point to bear in mind here is that the more information you request from your customers, the more likely it is that they’ll be put off from doing business with you, so data minimisation could also help increase your conversion rate… a very real win-win!


Remember end of engagement

Mothballing is an important part of privacy by design and it’s important to ensure that you delete the data you’ve stored of any and all users that have closed their accounts, as well as deleting all your user data when any apps you have are closed down.


Don’t pre-tick checkboxes/toggles

It’s important for your users to provide meaningful consent, which means you need to give them all the information they require in order to make informed decisions where their data is concerned. This is beneficial for you as well, since it means you know with certainty about the intentions of your site visitors.

To enact this, simply make sure that you don’t pre-tick your checkboxes and toggles or set them to on by default. Leaving them unchecked means that your users have to take positive action in order to give consent, leaving far less room for ambiguity.


Approach AI with caution

The growing prevalence of artificial intelligence (AI) means you’ll need to make sure that any usage of this kind of tech doesn’t compromise your data security practices. These systems need huge amounts of data and it’s likely that you’ll find it challenging to keep privacy principles at the forefront when using AI.

In an interview with InfoSecurity Magazine, Katharina Koerner – senior fellow of privacy engineering with the International Association of Privacy Professionals – observed: “Facial recognition is a good example of a technology based on AI with threats to privacy. It can be leveraged to steal identities, stalk people and create disadvantages in the job market. In addition, it can be used for predatory marketing, is susceptible to generating false positives and is often used without permission. 

“These are all threats to our privacy. Even more concerning is we cannot reset our biometrics like passwords if there is a data breach.”

It could certainly be worth checking out the rest of the article so you can find out even more about the implications of AI where privacy is concerned.


And if you need any further help or advice relating to privacy by design in general or white label web development, get in touch with the Codeias team today.