Product Idea: Privacy First in (Food) Delivery

Problem: 

How many times you received a food delivery and you see on the tax receipt written your name, address, and phone number?

How many packages did you get from a courier with the same data written with giant letters?

Data that could identify you is private, and we must protect it. At the same time, your delivery partner needs those details so they can fulfill your order. Are we in a Cacth 22 type of situation here? Not at all! 

Let’s see the flow of data in this complicated situation:

  1. You order food via your favorite app, and you give your name, address, and phone to them.
  2. They are just an aggregator, so they forward your details to the actual place to prepare the food.
  3. The restaurant uses a courier company (or a shared delivery engine) to deliver the order to you, and of course, they will share your details with them.

You can see your data flowing from system to system without your control or awareness. If you put it on top of that, they print out the tax receipt and hand it over to a 3rd party without your consent, and you could imagine all possible threats. 

You don’t have the visibility of who is doing what with your protected personal data. Any party of this chain believes that they need your details stored and printed out to “help you” get your food or item. And you even pay them to abuse you. Too harsh? Nope.

What is the solution, then?

Let me get this right. We all need service like that – where you can order stuff and get it at home. The goal here is – can we get a service that 1) believes your data is precious and it will use it only when needed; 2) with your permission, and 3) without storing it?

Imagine a situation like that..

The courier needs to deliver you some food. Before she is leaving the station, she would need to know where to go. Remember – they don’t have your data. Then she opens up an application and initiates a request to you to share the details. 

Privacy Application - Request

Then while sitting on the couch, receive an alert for the request.

Privacy Application - Responce

The courier is requesting the first name and the last name. You think they don’t need them for your food delivery. They could need your address and maybe your phone. So you select what you want to share and send it to them by selecting data from your data wallet, where you keep your details secured and encrypted.

Then the courier receives that, and the data will be available only until they deliver the food to you and then will expire and not be visible or stored anywhere. 

Data Wallet?

Here, the concept is that you, as a human you own your data. You keep them safe with you as you have your physical wallet. When someone needs a bit of information, you decide what to send and how long they can have it.

* In the text “Data Wallet” is a concept, not a name of an already existing product.

Privacy First

As I said before in this tiny article – the data we share with random parties must be protected. The best way to do that is to have the control at your disposal and not count on 3rd parties to do that for you. Most vendors are using the data you shared with them for the means you never agreed to. So why don’t we take the control back if the technology supports that?

Food for thought

  • If you recycle, how many times did you make your data unreadable before throwing the envelope in the bin?
  • If you look at the paper recycling bin that sits in front of your building, how many names, phones, and addresses you think you will find?

Privacy header image by Nick Youngson. Published under CC BY-SA 3.0

Involve your team members when you do your threat modeling.

Most of the companies I worked for or know about have a bizarre threat modeling process. They count on the architect or the most knowledgeable person to do the threat modeling. It’s defined as a one-person job!

If your goal is to do it, because it’s one of the required artifacts for your service to go in production or any other stage, it may be the right approach. But this is no threat modeling; it’s a false sense of security. You call for harmful attempts against your system because you put all the eggs in one basket. 

It’s the exact opposite of the goal of a threat modeling session.

Involve your team members when you do your threat modeling.

Every person in your team has a unique perspective and a way of thinking about possible threats against any system. 

Every person has a different experience compared to the others. 

Every person has different emotions and morale. 

All of those qualities play a critical role in the threat modeling process.

Let me give you an example:

I started a fun and useful exercise, explaining the threat modeling goal by bringing people together in front of a virtual whiteboard and doing a threat modeling against a beer tap infrastructure. 

The challenge

We have a yard with a few doors to enter it. We also have the beer tap, a pressure system, key storage, and some power controls. We have two boundaries to protect.

The team members were encouraged to “go wild” and think just for 7 min about all possible threats they see against the infrastructure individually. 

Then I asked them to put virtual “sticky” notes near the components that could be threatened and discuss the findings as a team.

I did that with six groups from different geo-locations, and every time, I received different results. 90% of the threats were common, but 10% of them differed from group to group. This is how you make your modeling better.

To compare, I asked a few people to do this exercise alone for the same time, and the difference I saw was that the wisdom of the crowd identified with 40% more threats than a single individual. If this is not hard proof, which is it?

Involve your team members when you do your threat modeling. It’s the first step into your journey towards creating a bit more secure products.

No, Facebook, I don’t want my 5$ back, but I want something from you.

Via different channels I got the same question :

Did you get your 5 dollars back?

It’s not a secret, that I got this question as well:

Did you really delete the data as requested? Can you sell it to me … /can you share it with me?/

Well the truth is, I don’t want my 5$ back, especially not from Facebook.

And yes, I deleted the data…but maybe, just maybe I’ve deleted the data the same way Facebook deletes users’ data when he/she wants to delete his/her account…

What do I want?

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I want Facebook to start removing entire user data after pressing “Delete my account”. Is this so much to ask. This is fair, isn’t it? Can we achieve that as a community?

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