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Meet Understanding Privacy, A New Smashing Book By Heather Burns — Smashing Magazine

Privacy by design is possible, but over time, it has become challenging to build and deploy sites and apps that use personal information in practical ways that are safe and ethical. In fact, many of us have given up at least a little of our own privacy online.

And so in our work, it may become easier to rationalize collecting more user data than we need, to avoid transparency around how that data is used, and even to use that data for unintended purposes. We tell ourselves it is for the convenience of our users, or to enhance their experiences. It’s no secret that unethical data practices can cause harm, often in ways we can’t predict.

Thoughtful data collection, storage, and use of data is possible, though. Heather Burns brings clarity to the subject by explaining the principles behind the collection, storage, and use of personal data, and how to use those principles to create safer experiences for your users. Understanding Privacy is an essential book for anyone that collects personal information. Jump to table of contents ↓.

  • eBook available for download in October 2022,
  • Printed books will be shipped in November 2022.
  • Pre-order the book.
Understanding Privacy

About The Book

Understanding Privacy is an introduction to the beliefs, concepts, and ideas that inform privacy as it exists — or has failed to exist — on the open web that we build. It’s about all the fundamental values of privacy as a concept, which precede privacy as a legal compliance issue. It’s about the ways these concepts impact your work as a designer, a developer, or a project manager. And it’s about the ways you can adopt these principles to create a healthy, user-centric approach to privacy in everything you do.

Heather explains what she has experienced working on privacy from every angle — human rights, law, policy, and web development — in the simplest way possible, and in the most positive way possible, in ways you can comprehend, use, and adapt in your work on the web right away.

A healthy approach to user privacy doesn’t tell you how to code. It tells you how to make the right decisions which inform the code. It also gives you the foundation you need to question, and even challenge, workplace practices which might not be in your users’ best interests.

This book is not a legal reference manual. By the end of this book, you will have shifted your understanding from a negative view of privacy as a scary legal compliance obligation to a positive view of privacy as an opportunity to build a better web.

Approx. 350 pages. Written by Heather Burns. Cover design by Espen Brunborg. eBook available for download in October, print shipping in November.

You’ll learn:

  • Fundamental concepts, definitions, and frameworks behind privacy and data protection,
  • how to integrate a healthy approach to user privacy into everything you do,
  • common privacy issues and how you can make a difference,
  • how to lay the ground for future developers, designers, and project managers to build a better web for tomorrow,
  • the obligations we have to safeguard user privacy and health data.

Who is this book for?

Understanding Privacy is for designers, developers, and project managers who want to understand what privacy really is about and who want to integrate a healthy approach to user privacy into everything they do — not only to put their users first today but also to help build a better web for tomorrow.

Table Of Contents

Approx. 350 pages. eBook available for download in October, print shipping in November. Written by Heather Burns. Cover design by Espen Brunborg.

Understanding Privacy

About the Author

Heather BurnsHeather Burns is a tech policy and regulation specialist. She advocates for an open web built around international standards of human rights, privacy, accessibility, and freedom of expression. She’s currently also an Internet Society Mid-Career Fellow.

Technical Details

  • ISBN: 978-3-945749-64-7 (print)
  • Quality hardcover, stitched binding, ribbon page marker.
  • Free worldwide airmail shipping from Germany starting in November 2022.
  • eBook available for download in October 2022 as PDF, ePUB, and Amazon Kindle.
  • Pre-order the book.

Producing a book takes quite a bit of time, and we couldn’t pull it off without the support of our wonderful community. A huge shout-out to Smashing Members for the kind, ongoing support. The eBook is and always will be free for Smashing Members as soon as it’s out. Plus, Members get a friendly discount when purchasing their printed copy. Just sayin’! 😉

More Smashing Books & Goodies

Promoting best practices and providing you with practical tips to master your daily coding and design challenges has always been (and will be) at the core of everything we do at Smashing.

In the past few years, we were very lucky to have worked together with some talented, caring people from the web community to publish their wealth of experience as printed books that stand the test of time. Steven and Stefan are two of these people. Have you checked out their books already?



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