Privacy matters

As we begin 2019, we think this is a good time to focus again on the issue of privacy (especially as it relates to web applications). In a nutshell, one can think of privacy as the ability to control information about an individual or a group. This includes how the information is collected, shared, and used.

Last year, the European Union began enforcing GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) on May 25. This legislation is designed to “Reshape the way organizations across the region approach data privacy.” (Quote from https://eugdpr.org/). This represented a major improvement (in our opinion).

Organizations such as noyb (none of your business) are researching enforcement options. You may recall their director, Max Schrems, was interviewed by the CBS News show 60 minutes in November, 2018. For example, they filed 4 complaints over “forced consent” on May 25, 2018 (against Google, Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp).

We can think of many instances where details are collected (often without full consent) and shared with others. If you have been paying attention to the news in the past few years, you already know this is an issue.

As a professional organization, we encourage adherence to privacy principles which include:

  • Never collecting more information than is necessary to complete a given task.
  • Keeping collected information confidential (and not sharing with other organizations without your specific permission).

We published our views on privacy on June 1, 2018. We ask that web professionals (and those who aspire to our profession and craft) take time to evaluate their role in protecting privacy as we begin 2019. We contend the U.S. lags significantly in the area of privacy protection (at least protection “with teeth”).

We are interested in what our readers and members think about this issue and look forward to your comments.

Best always,
Mark DuBois
Executive Director and Lead Community Evangelist

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