How many of you have used the AI-enabled FaceApp to give your photos an age makeover? In the past week, FaceApp edited photos was a rage across social media platforms. Soon, some news reports followed claiming that FaceApp is, by way of editing photos using AI, stealing our data and getting access to millions of personal photographs of people across the world. We do not know if this is true but the issue of privacy has become a serious concern, especially with personal communication channels like Whatsapp.

To address this issue, Whatsapp has partnered with Indian School of Public Policy (ISPP) to introduce the concept of privacy-centric designs for products in the sector of technology, among the students of public policy.

This will be done in the form of a workshop – the first of which is scheduled to be held on 17 September. The 63 students of the institute’s first batch will undergo another workshop at the end of their course.

The announcement was made during Whatsapp’s newly appointed global head, Will Cathcart’s visit to Mumbai. During his conference in Mumbai, Cathcart was faced with numerous questions on privacy in social media platforms. He made the announcement at this time. Cathcart, before joining Whatsapp was employed with Facebook.

Cathcart’s announcement indicated the importance the company gives to the issue of privacy. He added that technology and digital products of the future should be designed keeping privacy as a “core tenet”. However, during the event, Cathcart did not give out any information about Whatsapp’s plan to launch its payment services.

The workshops with the students of ISPP would be based under the TTC Labs Initiative. The TTC Labs Initiative, introduced by Facebook, is a cross-industry effort that brings policymakers, privacy experts and product creators together to create innovative design solutions that improve transparency in digital spaces and give people full control over their data.

The workshops or design jams, as stated by ISPP coordinator Arpit Chaturvedi will resemble jam sessions that musicians engage in. During these workshops, users of digital technology and some internal technical experts of business organizations come together. Both parties combine their preferences, their needs and expertise to create designs of products keeping privacy at the pivot.

Chaturvedi added that this design jam technique was being used all across the globe with the idea of devising policies that would better protect our privacy. ISPP in Delhi is proud to host the design jam in India. ISPP is planning to bring together its students, veteran policymakers, some members of the civil society and representatives and technical experts from Whatsapp. All the participants can be considered as stakeholders for the formation of the digital privacy policy of India.

Chaturvedi said that these policy recommendations are dynamic and ever-evolving. However, once some solid ground is reached in policy recommendations keeping in mind the present times, the legislators will be contacted.

Only last year, Facebook was accused of compromising users’ data. According to ‘The Guardian’, Facebook had owned up that a certain bug affecting around 6.8 million user profiles, had allowed app developers to get access to photos that users had uploaded but never posted. 

 

 

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