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PlaceSpeak and Proactive Privacy


Earlier, we mentioned that PlaceSpeak has been recognized as a Privacy by Design Ambassador.  The Privacy by Design (PbD) ambassador designation recognizes PlaceSpeak’s commitment to the protection of personal information and our persistent efforts in ensuring privacy by default.

The objectives of Privacy by Design — ensuring privacy and gaining personal control over one’s information and, for organizations, gaining a sustainable competitive advantage — is accomplished by practicing the 7 Foundational Principles.

The first principle has to do with how we as a company approach privacy.

Proactive not Reactive, Preventative not Remedial


The PbD approach is characterized by proactive and not reactive measures. It anticipates and prevents privacy-invasive events before they happen. PbD does not wait for privacy risks to materialize, nor does it offer remedies for resolving privacy infractions once they have occurred – it aims to prevent them from occurring. In short, Privacy by Design comes before-the-fact, not after.

Our Approach

From its start, PlaceSpeak understood the problem inherent in protecting online identity while simultaneously generating verifiable, location-based evidence. But solving this problem was mission critical to authenticating the consultation process. In order to build trust and transparency, nothing less than a privacy by design approach could satisfy these dual demands. PlaceSpeak comprises a two-sided model, and privacy by design serves both sides. It protects the private information of each participant on the one hand, and it protects proponents of consultations from FOI requests, since they never touch the identity information by design. This approach is structured into the design and architecture of the PlaceSpeak platform.


When an individual registers with PlaceSpeak, the system goes through a series of automated and opt-in steps to verify place and identity. Once a profile is created, the participant adjusts their verification, privacy and notification settings according to their preferences. Social media profiles can be associated. Only the participant can see their profile page.

When a proponent sets up a Topic Page, they map the scope of the consultation and decide what features they want to deploy for obtaining feedback, including discussions, polls and surveys. When participants connect with the topic, the proponent can see that they have been vetted within the boundaries of the mapped area, but do not have access to the participants’ private identity information. The proponent obtains reliable, location-based evidence to inform deliberation and ultimately influence outcomes, be it decision-making or policy development.



Participants can feel confident that PlaceSpeak collects and manages information with privacy as a primary concern – and is built into the design and practices of our platform and business model.

Proponents know that they are receiving defensible evidence without interacting with the private identity information of their constituents.

To learn more about PlaceSpeak’s approach to privacy, please visit our Privacy Policy page on our main website.


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