Understanding User Privacy Issues

It is a fundamental objective of the project to ensure user privacy. The question of how we do that, has been often asked. Understandably, clothing is very personal and with all that data moving around is there a risk that it could be compromised?

Our approach is to ensure that users can remain anonymous throughout the process. The personality is with the clothing, so the people in the system are basically anonymous data points. The main data we will need access to for the system is:

Username: Any name chosen by the user

Email Address: Information is not published and only used for service and notifications. We will also allow social logins.

Twitter Account: This is optional. Users can choose to simply receive messages in the app. However where a Twitter account is used, it can be anonymous. The Tweets are sent to the Twitter account, not a named user

Thus, it is possible to maintain an active connected wardrobe without ever identifying the individual owner. The data on the clothing will be held in secure cloud-based storage. If this data is compromised (which we expect is highly unlikely) there will be no personally identifiable data in the system.

In order to send a clothing return envelope, the charity will need to have a relevant address, but this will be at the wardrobe user’s discretion – they choose to send the information to the charity. Alternatively they can deliver the unwanted clothes to a nearby collection point.We will work closely with our charity partners to ensure that the information is properly safeguarded. For example, we would not expect addresses to be held as permanent records and (following UK/EU privacy guidelines) will never be passed on to a third party. We are also developing an option for garments to automatically post to an app. User anonymity will still be maintained in this process as it will be through a username rather than a named person.

As the Internet of Clothes is a social, not-for-profit enterprise we will establish an ethics board who will review data procedures along with any other ethical questions arising from the project’s objectives.