Our design principles

Keeping it private, secure and real.

Value Sensitive Design

Respect for human right and the complexities of human identity formation and performance should be standard. Ethnographers and ethicists should be part of the concepting phase.

Anticipate abuse

During the design proces as much time should be spent on exploring possible misuse of the system as should be spent on exploring all the 'positive' possibilities. Get people with a hacker mindset involved early.

Go cloudless

Computation, communication and storage should always take place as close to the end use as possible, and only get networked if absolutely necessary. Going beyond even edge computing, we believe that until security improves smart home devices should not be cloud connected. 

Gather as little data as possible

Only gather what you really need. In most western countries that principle is also the law.
Educate yourself about how seemingly innocent data signals are used to extrapolate more sensitive data.

Gather the least intrusive data

Get the least invading type of data for your purpose. For example, you can make a home secure without resorting to hanging up camera's everywhere. 

Have a 'communication off' switch

L‌et people select what level of communication - none, local or cloud - is allowed. Ideally, use a physical hardware switch for this. 
This also implies that devices should still retain core functionality when communication is limited. A smart fridge should still be a great fridge if a user decides networked communication is no longer wise or desired.

Educate & Empower

Making technology 'invisible' is a trap. As technology spreads we need to educate users on how to 'read and write', and have them become co-designers and co-builders. This learning process can be built into technologies' interfaces. Let its complexity adapt and expand to what the user can handle.

Open the black box

If they suddenly want or need to, users should be able to get a deeper understanding of what is going on in the system, and override it if necessary. For example, where possible a user should be able to remove data points that are unflattering or prone to misinterpretation by algorithms.

Follow best security practices

Encrypt everything. If wireless communication is used, obfuscate usage patterns.
Where appropriate, use non-intrusive network analysis to detect network threats.

Minimal viable hardware

A lot of smart devices use hardware with more storage and processing power than needed. This makes them interesting to hackers. When there is no more headroom for a hacker's code or computation, any hack will by design be limited in what it can do.

We wrote a book about it

The Design My Privacy book explores 8 privacy design principles that will help both web and product designers create truly smarter things.

Learn more