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Your privacy & everything around it

Background

We recognise the pressure to leverage user data for profit. We also recognise there are many companies whose business model involves generating as much user behaviour data as possible to then leverage it for revenue.

We are aware that the Sparks service will likely generate a significant amount of data and that data would be highly valuable to 3rd parties. E.g. understanding exactly what people are thinking as they listen to a point in a particular podcast episode.

We want to make sure we do not stumble forwards making things up as we go. Instead, we want to establish clear principles and policies around the kind of data we collect and its storage, its application and how it is shared with other services and parties. This document seeks to clarify our position and policies around this data.

Our beliefs

We believe that we are on the edge of a backlash against services where the user is the product and the company is primarily making money (often unscrupulously) from their data.

We believe that anything created by a user belongs to them - they are the hero in the story.

We believe 3rd parties should not be able to connect different data (provided by us) together to track individuals.

We believe it is better to be an ethical company that generates lower profits than the opposite.

Principles

This is a list of principles that create our framework around data on the Sparks platform:

1. User data should only be stored, used or passed on to other parties if the user directly benefits from it, this could be

System-initiated - i.e. taking a spark and running it through an entity extraction algorithm to find matching objects or entities.

User-initiated - where the user decides to share a spark socially (outside of the Sparks platform) or publically within the platform (e.g. thought leader publishing their sparks ‘expert cluster’) or with a defined audience (e.g. spouse) for collaboration purposes.

We recognise that the concept of ‘direct benefit’ can be subjective. But we are a user-centred organisation with a design principle to proactively support our customers. This should mean we gravitate towards very tangible & undeniable benefits & not edge cases.

2. User-created content belongs to the user and should be treated as such

Spark content is protected and kept private for the user. Ideally, it is encrypted so only the user can read the contents and not anyone on staff here at Sparks. This would include elements such as the spark note content as well as a person's name, email address and password.

Other subsidiary data derived or related to the spark contents may not carry the same privacy standard. This could could any entities detected in a spark (locations, company names etc.), any topics derived from a spark, the length of the spark, the original source that it was sparked from as well as other metricas about viewing and editing the sparks.

Summary

We hope that by establishing these principles early in our journey we can setup our systems and practicies to align with our values.

If you are interested in Sparks then be sure to sign up now...