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Transparent citizen: The role of privacy protection in Banking

3 min read

Posted on 02. 02. 2017 outbank gläserner bürger datenschutz transparenz

While the concept of the transparent citizen exists since years, the bestseller “The Circle” brought the term to a wider audience and attention. But what exactly does it mean to be a transparent citizen?

The term “transparent citizen” is a metaphor for digital privacy protection. In the age of mobile apps users often only have two options: either provide the app company with private and sensitive data or abstain from using it completely. By clicking on “Accept” before an app download, the user often gives away personal data without being completely aware of what that will do to his privacy. Microphone, camera, location etc. – when app providers analyze the data provided by their users, they become a pretty accurate picture of the preferences and interests of a person without ever having met each other. This translucent image of a user is the core meaning of the term “transparent citizen”. It’s the job of privacy protection laws and policies to demonstrate regulations for data collecting companies, which data they are allowed to collect and where they need to stop.

Bye, bye transparent citizen – the way out

But fortunately there is a third option, which allows users to keep their complete privacy also in the digital sphere. This option is called local data storage. When app providers store and encrypt data on the device of the user and abstain from storing it on one of their own servers, the company does not have any access to the data and can therefore neither analyze nor commercialize the information. An additional measure to secure full data protection is direct communication between the user device and its communicating partner without transferring the data via a middle man – a so-called proxy server. This server has full access to the content of the (hopefully) previously encrypted data, since proxy server always need to decrypt in order to match the information with the correct recipient. Especially in banking, this is a huge problem. Because to be honest, who wants his financials to be transparent to someone completely unknown?

Transparent citizen potential in banking – not with Outbank

That’s exactly why Outbank abstains from proxy servers and stores and encrypts all data, according to the zero knowledge principle, on the user’s own device. Outbank therefore offers complete data privacy and protection and prevents users from becoming transparent citizens.

Since Outbank stores user data locally on the device, Outbank does not have access to any personal financial information. No matter if a user is a millionaire or drowning in debts, Outbank has no insights in the financial status of a user. The data gets encrypted on the device and only the user can see the data readable in clear text after entering his master password. Outbank also does not store any passwords. Therefore, at no point of time, the company or any other person apart from the user, have access to the user’s information.

Also commercialization of data is not possible in Outbank. Since Outbank neither has access to the data nor can it analyze the data, the propagation and sale of data to third parties is impossible. In Outbank only the bank and the user know about the financial status. The communication between the bank and the user is completely secure. Outbank does not use proxy servers, but communicates directly between the device and the financial institution. This communication is secured by the active certificate pinning technology of Outbank which checks the integrity of each bank’s SSL certificate every 15 minutes.

If you want to know more about the phenomenon “transparent citizen” and how you can protect yourself and your data from too much transparency, then check out our Security Whitepaper or send us your questions directly via mail or on Twitter and Facebook.

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