Ethics and Online Privacy

Ethics and Online Privacy for professionals working with vulnerable clients

Don’t be the stable door after the horse has bolted. A neglected area of the privacy debate is provision of sensitive services, from GPs to therapists. Our technical research shows that effective privacy cannot be bolted on to digital services like another optional module; it must be designed in from the ground up and be an integral part of new ethical workflows. 

That’s why we have developed Kuva, a privacy-first communications service, based on a set of ethical Core Principles that inform every design decision and the technical stack:

  • Privacy as a First Principle: Kuva does not offer privacy as an optional add-on or service enhancement, but as the fundamental basis around which to design responsible, professional and efficient digital workflows. 
  • Data Minimisation: Kuva does not collect, store or sell data. Our systems generate only what data is necessary to execute its core functions, information which is destroyed as soon as it is no longer needed. 
  • Limit Third-Party Relationships: Kuva develops and maintains its tools in house, so that we are able to contract to our customers on a one-to-one basis, without exposing them to an unaccountable network of third-party vendors. 
  • Simplicity and Transparency: Digital privacy does not need to be as complex as existing gatekeepers have made it. Managers, professionals and service providers shouldn’t have to become specialists in data privacy in order to achieve oversight of their online activities. Kuva will provide our customers with the clarity they need in order to take responsibility for digital privacy at their business. 

The Implications for professionals’ workflows

If you want to keep your business information and your clients’ information completely secure, we have concluded that the only way to be sure of this is to not leave that information exposed online. This requires far more of a revolution in working practices than referring to clients by prearranged numbers (a common Zoom practice, we are told). 

Kuva’s services only do what can be done securely and privately, which means rethinking everyday online information sharing far more radically. For example, imagine only sending chat messages and transferring sensitive documents via a realtime link that disappears without a trace after your transaction. This is the kind of reimagining of digital privacy that Kuva demands. Funnily enough, this is just the kind of privacy everyone expects in real life.

Kuva’s approach is fresh in two senses – 1) it radically simplifies online privacy by minimising the amount/sensitivity of data collected and the number of parties it is exposed to, 2) it is based on upholding people’s everyday, common-sense expectations of privacy (i.e., if I talk to a doctor/lawyer/therapist, no one else should be listening in).