My first trip to the Privacy Identity Innovation conference left me with a great appreciation for Seattle as well as a deeper understanding of the difficulties companies with large technology footprints are having as they try to build privacy into their businesses.
- With trust playing an increasingly important role in the digital economy, Privacy by Design startups have a significant advantage over incumbents who are struggling to adapt their rigid technology systems and business rules to give their customers more control.
- To truly build a user-centric service or platform, every component of the architecture and product design must be oriented around giving the user control. It’s not just about privacy policies slapped on after the product is built.
- Established companies can empower their users by giving them control over their information. First, only ask for data you are actually going to use. Second, let customers have a copy of any data they give you, and any data you collect or create about them. Third, allow users to delete their data from your system. And above all, be transparent with your users about your data and privacy practices.
- Privacy and anonymity are two different concepts. The former is about being able to choose what identity or information you show to whom. The latter is just one option within a range of privacy settings that lets you turn everything off.
In addition, it was great to see so many tools that help individuals control the information available about them online, and securely share sensitive information with others. We were particularly impressed with SafeShepherd, BrandYourself, and Lockify, but all of the Innovator Spotlight and Technology Showcase award winners are worth checking out. I also encourage you to watch the panels featuring our very own Tarik Kurspahic (“Lessons Learned: Designing for Privacy”) and Shane Green (“Small Data and Personal Identity Management”).
Last but not least, thanks to everyone who voted for Personal to win the pii2012 Technology Showcase Award, less than a year after selecting us for the first Innovator Spotlight Audience Choice Award at pii2011. Like everyone at the conference, we continue to be big believers in the power of data – when used properly – to transform people’s lives, and we look forward to tackling more privacy- and identity-related challenges at the next event.