What is Safety by Design?
Safety by Design is an approach which puts user safety and rights at the centre of the design and development of products and services. The goal is to anticipate and prevent harm which might occur while using products, rather than trying to implement remedies after the harm has occurred.
Safety by Design Online
Many of us now take features of safe design in physical products and services for granted – for example the standard inclusion of seat belts, air bags, and anti-lock brakes in cars.
One example of Safety by Design in the online space is the use of age verification processes which ensure only those who are old enough can gain access to certain websites. Another example is the use of scanning and filtering technology on platforms where users upload their own content, such as on social media sites, which can detect certain forms of illegal material, such as Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM). This content can then either be removed or flagged for human review.
Safety by Design is now commonplace in physical products and services. The eSafety Commissioner, INHOPE's Australian member, argue that we need to see equivalent safety features embedded into the design of online products and services.
Safety by Design by the eSafety Commissioner
For the eSafety Commissioner, Safety by Design is about making online spaces safer by anticipating, detecting, and eliminating online threats before they occur. It is also a question of ensuring online spaces are more inclusive by considering the needs of those most at risk. They advocate for safety to be embedded into the culture and leadership of an organisation, and promote an ethos of ‘moving thoughtfully’ over ‘moving fast’ and ‘profit at all costs’.
The eSafety Commissioner have developed several initiatives with the goal of supporting legislators, providers of products and services, financial entities, and educators to better implement principles of Safety by Design into their work. These initiatives have been developed through in-depth research and consultation.
- A set of principles that position user safety as a fundamental design consideration
- Interactive assessment tools for enterprise and start up technology companies
- Resources for investors and financial entities
- Engagement with the tertiary education sector to embed Safety by Design into curricula around the world
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