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Designing Privacy

Last week, Pantopicon (Toronto) in collaboration with Toronto based design studio DoUC, had the pleasure of facilitating a thought provoking panel discussion around the theme of ‘Designing Privacy’; exploring how we can use design to address issues of privacy in today’s context.

The panel
Brandon Kerstens – Commercial Lawyer specialising in marketing & distribution and privacy & data management.
Pia Nyakairu – Human Factors/UX/UI Designer in the Healthcare Field
Rob H Wood – Security consultant specialising in product security for embedded devices with NCC Group
Rita Morais – PhD Candidate (ABD) in the Department of Communication and Culture at Ryerson University
Ashley Casovan – Canada’s Open Government Portal lead

One question posed to the panel was ‘can a universal code of conduct be created, when designers are faced with moral or ethical decisions regarding privacy in their work?’ It quickly became apparent that such universal code, although ideal, would not be possible. Simply put, the discussions surrounding ‘privacy’ are much richer and more nuanced than can be summarised by a general code of conduct. In fact, given the diverse backgrounds of the panelists, each viewing privacy from a different lense, it can be said that it isn’t about simplification, but rather enhancing methods and modes of communication in order to bridge the gap of complexity and to facilitate transparency and understanding, not only between professionals but throughout all of society. In this respect, the designer plays a crucial role as mediator, creator and communicator between the various ‘privacy motivated’ stakeholders.

So far the main themes we have identified and will explore are: Regulation, Consent, Value, and Consequences of Data Exchange.

Pantopicon and DoUC both recognise the complexity of this topic and therefore have taken to diving deeper into the subject. Currently, we are collaboratively exploring various ways to extract the knowledge that has begun to emerge from the discussion and apply the many notions and ideas into more tangible outputs, and in our real-life context.

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