The Goin’ data principles
We live in a time where users are more critical than ever regarding the use of their data. And they should be, it’s theirs! One of our missions is to make social networking platforms more ethical regarding the data of their users. Therefore, we follow the data principles of the DataEthics.eu. Our data principles run like a thread through our organisation. You can read about our principles in here.
1. Students at the centre
We at Goin’ believe that the interest of students should always prevail for commercial or institutional interests. Therefore, our central question will always be: “Is this something students benefit from?”. If the answer is ‘no’, we will not choose that path. The principle also counts for the information on Goin’. All information should be relevant to students meaning it should really help them with their move, study or with building a network. Next to that, Goin’ makes use of privacy-by-design principles which are clearly and transparently communicated in our privacy statement.
2. Individual data control
First, we will always question ourselves if the collection of particular data is necessary for the aim of Goin’ (i.e. creating vibrant communities) and how this data should be stored. Sensitive data will be locally stored as much as possible to prevent impactful data leaks. We make use of on-device processing as much as possible. Second, if processing data of students is necessary, we will always make use of aggregated data processing. Data will never be able to be related to an identifiable person.
Goin’ does not make use of profiling for commercial aims.
Goin’ does not make use of individual-level behaviour predictions. Goin’ will only make use of pattern-behavioural predictions if this will make the experience of Goin’ better for international students or expats, or if it can help organisations to help their internationals more efficient.
Goin’ tries to be as transparent as possible about the use of the data students.
The data of Goin’ is stored in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. If a user from outside the EU downloads the Goin’ app, the transmission of data can go through countries outside of the EU. Students from outside the GDPR jurisdiction should be aware of the fact that a chance exists their data is being used by the authorities of their home country. Unfortunately, this is something which Goin’ can have limited control over.
Goin’ makes use of a ‘popularity algorithm’ within the individual connect environment. The parameters of this algorithm consist of objective parameters:
Gender, nationality, age or other personal aspects do not play a role in the algorithm for the connect environment.
Next, Goin’ makes use of a simple algorithm within the group environment. Groups with more activity will be shown on top of the page together with groups a student has already joined.
Goin’ does not use personal data to influence personal behaviour of students. Since Goin’ is a social networking platform, Goin’ makes use of notifications which could be experienced addictive. However, making use of notifications is essential to create an included community and to inform users of messages sent to them. Moreover, during the design process, users explicitly requested notifications.
Goin’ uses end-to-end encryption of data, zero-knowledge as a design principle and anonymised data processes. The processing will always contain aggregated data. This means that nobody but Goin’ can read the data files and that data can never be connected to an individual person once it has to be shared.
Goin’ does not sell data to third parties. Goin’ could share fully anonymised information with universities to help their community. To give an example: it could be the case that the Goin’ team recognises that a lot of Spanish students struggle with opening a bank account. Goin’ could advice the university that they should make a separate information page for opening a bank account.
Goin’ does not make use of third-party cookies meaning we don’t track behaviour by students for online-advertising purposes. In order to track data, we make use of Google Analytics which means that Google might be able to collect user data outside the power of Goin’.
Goin’ does not enrich data with external data unless a user logs in via Facebook, Google or Apple. In that case, Goin’ collects a users’ name, age and picture. However, this information will also be collected when a user registers via the regular way. When a user registers via Facebook, Google or Apple, explicit consent will be asked by Goin’ to the user.
Goin’ has an individual responsible for the ethical management of data of students. Before every update will be pushed towards the public, this individual should give explicit permission for the update. This person should always ask himself the following question: “Is this something students benefit from?”. The individual will also take care of writing user data ethics guidelines aiming to prevent undesired and inappropriate behaviour towards groups or individuals on the platform. The processing of data is audited by an independent third party every 3 months. When entering into a contract with other parties, we will always explicitly require to respect our data principles in order to defend the users of Goin’.
Goin’ tries to improve equality for students by the ability to create groups for vulnerable people (e.g. disabled students). A user is considered ‘vulnerable’ once the person is physically or mentally hindered to make connections (in person or online). The aim of this function is to include vulnerable students directly to the community.
Moreover, Goin’ has built automatic safeguards to prevent inappropriate behaviour towards groups and individuals. Students are able to block a person meaning the connection between the two people is gone. Also, students who behave inappropriately on the platform can be reported to the Goin’ team. If a user is being reported three times or more, the user’s account will be shut down temporarily. The Goin’ team will assess whether the user should be removed. The Goin’ team will always make a careful balancing of interests in this regard having the privacy rights of the reported person and the interest of the community in mind.
Goin’ does not make use of dialoguing with users via public platforms in order to prevent sharing user data with third parties (i.e. the owners of the data of public platforms).
Goin’ does not use data to train algorithms to prevent discrimination or forming social ‘bubbles’.
Thank you for reading our data principles, together we can make social networking platforms more ethical!
Do you think we should take something else into account regarding the users’ data? Don’t hesitate to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org !