Privacy tools, any software or internet tool used to protect user privacy, have to have their best privacy by default. This isn’t always the case. There are too many tools that make big privacy claims, but for users to get that privacy, they need to change settings to get the highest level of privacy.
Many tools skip over privacy settings to deliver a more “convenient” experience. If people are willing to put convenience ahead of privacy, they would not make the move to alternative services. Why then would a “private” tool choose to make their tools more convenient at the expense of privacy?
What is Privacy by Default?
Privacy by Default means that a product in its standard form has privacy enabled. For example, a social media website uses privacy by default when users create a new account and don’t have to do anything extra to have the highest privacy that the website offers.
The opposite of privacy by default is optional privacy settings. Unfortunately most websites and internet tools use this model. Many of these have great privacy settings available, but the features are hidden deep in complex menus. Some tools even have great privacy settings available, but average users would have a hard time figuring out which settings they need to change.
If a service collects data from its users, it should take necessary steps to keep that information secure and it should only keep that information as long as its necessary for the functionality of the service. A big problem with many online tools is that they hold onto user data because there could potentially be value in that data some time in the future. If a service is privacy friendly, it will collect only the necessary data and then get rid of it as soon as it’s no longer essential.
Privacy By Default is Good for Everyone
A company that offers a tool that is private by default won’t have the same risks that other companies face. For example, if a company only has minimal data about its users, there is less chance that a data breach could expose sensitive information about a company’s users. For users, privacy by default means that every user has access to a private product. There is no need to mess with settings or configurations to get the best experience. This level of privacy means that users aren’t at risk for losing all of their data in a data breach.
Companies shouldn’t look at privacy by default as a burden. It will improve their products in the long term and will make user-experiences much better.
Some companies may look at high-privacy standards as barriers to advancement, especially if they are trying to put out products quickly. However, this same desire to progress quickly is what leads to oversight and carelessness that leads to data breaches.