The 28th of January is Data Privacy Day. It is an educational initiative originally focused on raising awareness among both businesses and personal users about the importance of protecting the privacy of personal information online, particularly in the context of social networking. This educational focus has grown after some years to include other fields, like the health and research ones.
Here we should remember that the main objective of PROCare4Life pilots and the future use cases is to deploy the PROCare4Life platform and, in the pilots’ case, verify its technical use and acceptance in order to achieve a later business implementation. In order to achieve this objective, it is clear that the project needs a big amount of ICT, so that Privacy is also a key issue.
Privacy and Ethical by Design
Our main target is to achieve that the PROCare4Life project is designed to achieve the highest levels of Data Protection and Ethics. For this reason, we help to take care of this issue from the very beginning of the project because in the digital world the principle that says “building is easier than re-building or reforming” works exactly as in the analogical world.
The main , and oft forgotten, tool to achieve the mentioned levels is to work with as less data as possible, which means applying the data minimisation principle. One way to apply this principle is to work with pseudonymized or anonymized data whenever possible, and this is exactly how our project works. We try to work with as less personal data as possible and when we need to work with personal data whenever possible we anonymize them.
Another tool is encryption, which assures that only the right users of the platform will be able to access personal data. From the ethical point of view, we have assessed that the project works in a way that, among others, respects the principles of benefit, justice, autonomy and freedom of the user and, last but not least, sustainability. Another example is the use of cameras that will collect both 2D and 3D images to facilitate the extraction of events (e.g. falls, loss of balance, wandering episodes), point trajectories and ‘skeleton’ data from patients for extraction of different motor behaviors and movements, these technologies allow to use video images without being fully Privacy compliant via data minimization as seen in the video below.
These are only a few examples of how PROCare4Life is working in order to achieve the highest levels of Privacy compliance and showing that it is possible to work in a Privacy compliant way if your project begins early enough to check and apply the requirements, this will also help to understand that Privacy is not a barrier but an added value.
This blog was written by Ricardo Morte Ferrer, a Spanish Lawyer and PhD candidate at the University of Granada (Spain). Ricardo works at STELAR as a Privacy and Ethics researcher and chairs the Ethics and Privacy Committee at the PROCare4life project.