Data Privacy Day 2020

  • Jérémie Fontana

Today is the Data Privacy Day. The purpose of this initiative, launched in 2007 by the Council of Europe, is to raise awareness and promote privacy and data protection best practices.

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Privacy is a trending topic for a few years now. The implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation on May 25, last year, has caused quite a turmoil in the business world.
As a Privacy Advocate at Liip, here are 5 reasons why I think it's important to talk about that...

Privacy is a human right

Article 12 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights: No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with their privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon their honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Yes, privacy is at the core of our Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
And even two centuries ago in the USA, the First, Third, Fourth and Fifth Amendments of the Constitution were written to protect their citizen's privacy.

"I have nothing to hide"

Quote from Edward Snowden: Arguing that you don't care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide, is no different than saying you don't care about free speech because you have nothing to say.

This famous quote from Edward Snowden is a reaction we often hear when talking about privacy, and why it's important to protect it. Privacy is not about hiding stuff. It's about knowingly choosing what you want to share and with whom.
And just because you think you have "nothing to hide", it doesn't mean that everyone else does. Minorities or people at risk (because of their religion, their gender, their sexual orientation or their political convictions) can be in great danger if their privacy is not protected.

Surveillance Capitalism

Quote from Aral Balkan: Facebook and Google are to your privacy what ExxonMobil is to the environment and what Philip Morris is to your health. It’s time we understood this basic fact.

The "Big Tech" companies (most often from the Silicon Valley) are one of the biggest threats to people's privacy, because of their business model. They track, collect, use and share the personal data of billions of people around the world. Shoshana Zuboff coined the expression "Surveillance Capitalism" to describe that.
However, even though a few major cases have splashed all over Facebook or Google in recent years, they're still seen as cool companies, especially in our tech world. It's common to see them sponsoring dozens of tech conference about the protection of privacy (sic) or democracy...
Indeed, it's hard to completly get rid of them and their services (even for us), but Aral's comparison here is really accurate. We would think it's completly outrageous to see Philip Morris sponsoring a conference about public health, therefore why are we so tolerant with the Big Tech?

Accessible to everyone

Quote from Laura Kalbag: Protecting ourselves from tracking shouldn’t just be a privilege of those with knowledge, time and money.

Protecting your privacy should be easy. But it's not always the case.
Most of the tools we have at our disposal are complicated. These apps, ad/tracker-blockers or services require some technical knowledge and time to configure and to tinker with.
It should not be that way, like Laura summarize it so well.
As designers and developers, it's our duty to build solutions that are accessible and easily usable.

Privacy by Design

Privacy by Design principles: 1. Proactive not reactive – preventive not remedial / 2. Privacy as the default setting / 3. Privacy embedded into design / 4. Full functionality – positive-sum, not zero-sum / 5. End-to-End security – full lifecycle protection / 6. Visibility and transparency – keep it open / 7. Respect for user privacy – keep it user-centric

That's why everyone working on digital products and services should use these Privacy by Design principles.
Let's be honest, I agree that it's not always easy to do so. Sometimes it could go against some business needs or technical difficulties, but it's a great framework to guide our design work.

Let's build more ethical products together!

Comments? Questions?

Don't hesitate to leave your thoughts in the comment section below or to ping Liip or me to tell us what you think about all that.

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