As someone who makes browser extensions (Hide Feed and Intention) that people trust with their data, I try to be thoughtful about the way I safeguard my users' privacy. This generally isn't a sexy topic because people often view it as a hindrance to their business interests. When dealing with things of this sort, I feel super glad to be an independent maker who can make decisions from first principles rather than simply following the decisions made by others with different values and goals (e.g. "maximizing shareholder value" 🤮).

Here are my current set of principles when it comes to data collection and user privacy:

1. Data collection should be minimal

Data should be collected only when there's actually a good reason. The common practice of collecting as much data as possible "just in case" is disrespectful of users' privacy. Product makers should strive to collect as little data as possible.

2. Data collection should be transparent

Users should be able to find out what data is being collected and why. Product makers should not collect any information that they wouldn't feel comfortable telling their users about. At a minimum, this means having a privacy policy that's readable and understandable. Product makers should strive to list out all the data they collect in their entirety.

3. Data collection should be controlled by the user

Users should be able to choose not to have data collected that's not essential for the operation of the service. At a minimum, this means providing a way for users to opt-out of sending analytics and even crash reports. Users should have control over their own data.

These are my privacy principles. While I still fall short in some areas (e.g. I use Google Analytics on my landing pages and currently don't have a way to opt-out), I use these to guide the way I design my products. While most people don't know or care about these things, I hope that we can shift the tide so that more and more makers and companies are incentivized to prioritize their users' privacy and take it seriously.

<aside> 👋 You're reading Road to Ramen, where I think aloud and share everything I learn in exploring the question: Can I make a living building things I love?

by DK the Human (@dk_the_human)