Frequently asked questions

Answers for Your Questions about the International Council on “Global Privacy and Security, by Design” (GPS by Design).


Q: What is GPS by Design?

A: If we are to survive as a free and prosperous society, we must replace the zero-sum (win/lose) meme with positive-sum (win/win) messaging, which will allow us to be serious about building innovative systems that integrate both privacy and public safety, without either one being compromised, allowing us to achieve doubly-enabling solutions.  

GPS by Design is the vehicle through which a positive-sum, win/win model will promote research and development of policies and concomitant  technical systems designed with both objectives of privacy and functionality in mind, thus ensuring that both privacy AND public safety can be achieved without sacrificing the efficacy of one for the other.

Q: What is Privacy by Design?

A: Privacy by Design (PbD) is a framework which seeks to proactively embed privacy protective measures into the design of information technologies, networked infrastructure and business practices, in an effort to prevent privacy harms and data breaches from arising. PbD is a model of prevention; by identifying potential risks proactively, one may then embed the necessary measures into programs and IT to prevent the harms from arising – bake privacy-protective measures directly into the code, into the data architecture, resulting in positive-sum solutions. A key step is strong security, which is featured as an essential component: while privacy subsumes a much broader set of protections than security alone, if you don’t lead with strong security, end-to-end, with full lifecycle protection, you will never have good privacy.

Privacy by Design has already achieved a global presence, having been translated into 38 languages.  In 2010, Privacy by Design was unanimously passed as an International framework, and is a key regulatory platform in the EU, U.S, Japan, and other countries.

Q: Who is leading the International Council/GPS by Design initiative?

A: Dr. Ann Cavoukian served three terms as the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, Canada from 1997 to 2014, and is widely-recognized as the creator of Privacy by Design. Dr. Cavoukian now leads the Privacy and Big Data Institute at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada.

Q: Why is GPS by Design important – at this point in time?

A: Ever since the tragic events of 9/11, and the terrorist acts that have followed, privacy has increasingly been cast as an antagonist of public safety. This zero-sum, win/lose paradigm of privacy vs. public safety is not only wrong, it is extremely dangerous, and must be brought to an end.  It is wrong because privacy and public safety can indeed co-exist, resulting in greater efficacy for both. It is dangerous because in the tension between privacy and public safety, privacy will always lose, and this loss will directly endanger not only freedom, but the prosperity that we enjoy as a free and open society.

Recent advances in encryption technology, such as more secure mobile access and end-to-end encryption, have re-vamped the playing field by making it more difficult for governments to readily access encrypted personal information at will. Governments are growing increasingly concerned about these technological trends and are now calling for the creation of “backdoors” into encrypted content, that is, special “keys” reserved for them to allow unfettered access into people’s encrypted communications – in other words, greater expansion of the surveillance network blanketing all individuals in society.

In addition, massive technological changes in all things connected via the emerging “Internet of Things,” which some are calling the “Internet of Everything” are coming to the fore. While such innovation has the potential to dramatically improve our lives, it also has a dystopian side in that it may create the opportunity for greater subversive surveillance, at an unimaginable scale, which can overlay our communications and activities behind the scenes, without the knowledge or consent of those involved.

As a result of all of this, we as a society are at a nexus. Should we continue down this road of more intrusive surveillance and less privacy, we will not only become less safe as a society, but will also become less prosperous. Respect for the privacy of all individuals in a society not only forms the bedrock of freedom but also of innovation and its resulting prosperity. We have the capability to reverse this ominous zero-sum technological trend. As a society we can develop systems that protect privacy AND public safety, privacy AND business interests.  These are positive sum solutions which we must promote and develop, not the freedom-killing zero-sum directions of the past.  

This is why GPS by Design Council is not only timely — it is critically important to society as a whole.

Q: What is the Mission of GPS by Design?

A: The Mission of GPS by Design is to dispel the commonly held view, held by governments, businesses, the media and the public at large — that one must choose between privacy and public safety: You do not!

Q: What is the goal of GPS by Design?

A: The goal of GPS by Design is to rid the world of limiting zero-sum thinking, and replace it with the doubly-enabling possibilities of positive-sum paradigms. If people could understand that win/win propositions are not only possible but preferable, we believe they would embrace them. If one could have both privacy AND security, privacy AND business interests, preserving the best of both – why wouldn’t you? Our initial goal is to spread the messaging that this is indeed both possible and desirable, leading to endless new initiatives. Abandon zero-sum; embrace positive-sum! The loss of privacy is said to be the regression of a society towards an uncivilized society, lacking in freedom. Let’s make sure this doesn’t become a reality.

Q: What are the Objectives of GPS by Design?

A: The Objectives of GPS by Design are:

  1. To educate politicians, businesses, the media and public that we can and must engineer systems to protect both privacy, AND other interests: Abandon zero-sum!
  2. To develop policy templates which will articulate how privacy is to be applied in the new digital age for different government and business segments, and the oversight these institutions should fall under. These policy templates will be important in the development of new, doubly-enabling, positive-sum technologies.


  1. To foster and fund technology innovation in research institutions around the world that will allow privacy and public safety, as well as privacy and business interests such as Big Data and data analytics, to be achieved without sacrificing either.

Q: How will the goals of GPS by Design be achieved?

A: The required mind shift in society requires massive education and raising of awareness. It also requires pro-active design of the systems and the technologies that we put into place.  To this end, GPS by Design wants to foster and fund research which focuses on utilizing current advances such as AI and machine learning, together with other technologies like blockchain and encryption, to develop systems that protect both privacy and public safety.

Q: How will research be funded?

A: Funds will be raised through a variety of means: an outreach program to public and private sector institutions, combined with website donations. These funds will primarily be used to fund R&D relating to privacy and security enhancing technologies. A committee of experts/technologists will be formed as an arm of GPS by Design to assess the research proposals, disperse the funds and monitor progress.


Q: How will GPS by Design be governed?

A: The GPS by Design Council will consist of a Chairperson and approximately 10 to 15 members comprising power brokers and “smart” people in various segments of global society, including, but not limited to, experts in telecommunications, cryptography, security/privacy/data protection, lawyers, data scientists, law enforcement, intelligence, counter-terrorism, digital and news media, TV, business and politics.

Q: Why should I be interested in GPS by Design?

A: We must demonstrate that we can indeed have both privacy and public safety, otherwise our freedom and prosperity will be forfeited, which in our view, is simply too high a price to pay.

Privacy revolves around personal control over one’s data. As individuals, we must have both privacy and security, in equal measure. We need not give up on privacy, we simply need to embed it into design, along with security. By joining the GPS by Design International movement you can become a part of achieving this end:  here’s to the end of zero-sum paradigms, and a future filled with privacy, security, freedom, innovation and prosperity!

Q: Who should participate in GPS by Design?

A: Anyone who values freedom, privacy, prosperity, security and public safety should become part of the GPS by Design movement to spread the word that you can indeed have privacy AND functionality.  

Technologists can join in developing methods that will deliver both privacy and public safety; privacy and data analytics. Policy-makers, lawyers, and politicians and citizens interested in preserving our freedoms and prosperity should join us in this endeavor.

Q: How can I join and get involved?  

A: Please provide your name and contact information, and any areas of expertise/interest you may wish to add (this is totally optional), and your consent to include your name and affiliation on our members list.

Q: How can I make a donation to the International Council on GSP by Design? (Is the donation tax deductible?)

We will be established as a not-for-profit organization, so all donations will be tax-deductible.


Q: What are some current examples of GPS by Design technologies?

A: Innovative technologies such as recently developed advances in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Blockchain and Homomorphic Encryption are examples of effective GPS by Design technologies.