Skip main navigation

New offer! Get 30% off one whole year of Unlimited learning. Subscribe for just £249.99 £174.99. New subscribers only. T&Cs apply

Find out more

The global future of Safety by Design

Read about the global future of Safety by Design.

With 3.8 billion active users of social media globally, and an additional one billion internet users projected to come online in the coming years (WEF 2020, p. 3), designing online products and services with user safety and rights at their core has never been more critical.

There is increasing global recognition of the need to foster responsible technology, and a growing awareness that online environments pose new and wide-ranging challenges. This is particularly important in making sure human rights responsibilities are adequately addressed, and that innovations and technologies are socially and individually beneficial.

The Safety by Design initiative acknowledges that:

  • Digital technology, human rights and ethics need to develop iteratively together to create safe online environments.
  • Balancing privacy, security and safety principles is essential, and these should be seen as three equal pillars in the developmental lifecycle of all online products and services.

Ethical design and development of online services, products and platforms has wide-ranging applications and is a truly global issue given the borderless nature of the online environment. Protections need to be put in place to protect all users from the ever-increasing variety of harms that permeate the online world.

The Safety by Design principles guide tech companies and developers to incorporate user safety considerations in the design, development and deployment phases of the product or service lifecycle. The principles emphasise user safety as a fundamental aspect of design that should be embedded from the outset rather than as an afterthought or reaction to incidences of online harms.

Want to know more?

You may find it useful to read this World Economic Forum paper which highlights the practical applications of Safety by Design principles on a global scale and how the principles are a model template for industry of all sizes and stages of maturity:

© RMIT 2023
This article is from the free online

Safety By Design

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now