News & Events

Last update: September 2021


OpenBack Data Privacy Webinar Highlights

To round off our recent deep dive into data privacy – particular with regard to COPPA – the team at OpenBack gave a webinar on how your push notifications play into responsible data processing behavior. If you weren’t able to make the livestream, we have the link up on YouTube for you to watch at your leisure. We have included the link below, as well as our highlights of the event. Read on to learn more!

Download OpenBack’s whitepaper outlining our unique approach to data privacy and regulation compliance:

The Radical Evolution of Data Privacy in Push Notifications Webinar

Kicking off the webinar, OpenBack CEO David Shackleton introduced us the role of push notifications, and how data privacy affects their UX. As we know, data privacy is vital to all industries, and especially in recent years has become a hot button issue. Moreover, it is a driving concern for the founders of OpenBack, who built a data privacy mode into the technology from its very conception. Enabling this allows apps to remain compliant with all regional data privacy regulations while increasing user engagement and return on push notifications.

There’s a growing awareness of the importance of push notifications, because in most cases they’re the “primary interface” an app has with its user. Most of the times we pick up our phones, we’re interacting with the notifications we see on our lockscreen before all else. What’s more, studies have shown that apps that send push notifications have 57% more engagement than apps that don’t.

Many app developers are cagey when it comes to sending notifications, fearing they’ll scare users away. A high percentage are also concerned about complying with data privacy regulations, which can be intimidating. Traditional push notifications generate a unique push token when your user installs the app. The FTC considers this push token to be personal data, or PII (personal identifing information). And when it comes to users below 13 years of age in the US, apps need to obtain parental consent before transfering the push token to a notification messaging cloud, as traditional push notification SDKs do.

This can be a huge barrier for kids’ apps who want to remain compliant while simultaneously sending personalized notifications to users and delivering high-quality UX. Moreover, in addition to the larger tech companies you hear about, such as YouTube and Google, the FTC is prosecuting smaller apps and indie developers as well.

data privacy openback webinar

4 Levels of Requirement

For most regional data privacy regulations, there are 4 levels of requirement:

  • Parental Consent: For parents of users younger than 13 (in the US) or 16 (in the EU).
  • Data privacy: The user is the only one who can access, move, and control it.
  • Right to be forgotten: Deletion of all PII upon request.
  • Data storage control: It may need to be stored within specific countries or regions.

Compliant Solutions

As Shackleton points out, the crux of the problem here is the push token. And there are certain solutions available where you can send notificaitons without removing a push token from the user’s device. iOS and Android both support local notifications, where the app on the device delivers the notification directly. You can also do parental consent flow, which are complex to implement as well as to educate your child users and parents on to complete that flow.

Then there is the OpenBack solution, a hybrid of both remote and local notification services. It essentially builds on top of the concept of local notifications, but provides all of the functionality, features, and control that you’d expect from a conventional approach. And, because no data is collected off the device, it’s privacy compliant by default.

Shackleton briefly explores how OpenBack’s hybrid mobile engagement platform is built to make it different from competitors. OpenBack combines mobile edge computing with machine learning to ensure that, using our default mode, any processing of user data takes place 100% on the device. Where other platforms send the push token to 3rd party servers, as mentioned above, to be processed before sending the push notification back to the device, OpenBack completely removes any need for the push token. Data is leveraged for purposes of personalizing notifications and improving UX, but it stays on the device at all times. It remains the property and under control of the user.

Because of this, OpenBack is compliant by default with all local data privacy regulations. And there is no need for kids’ apps to gain parental consent, because the data is never accessed by a 3rd party.

data privacy webinar reliability

The Shift in Our Understanding of Data Privacy

In the tech industry, we’re seeing more and more discussion and debate about this idea of yoru data staying on-device. Shackleton surmises:

“We think that this is a very logical conclusion, and we see a massive shift, a macro-trend towards that approach, how to best use and give the experiences that are improved by customer data, but not needing to collect it.”

We’ve explored above how a data privacy-first solution such as OpenBack’s brings huge privacy gains. But there are also gains around reliability, and processing data device-side provides lots of opportunity to improve notification UX. For example, OpenBack enables dynamic notifications, which developers can edit or even delete from the user’s device post-delivery. Reliable delivery also means that developers have unprecedented control over moment of delivery, meaning you can schedule notifications for the right moment, when the user is most likely to engage.

When it comes to solutions to deliver segmented, personalized push notifications, you can build this yourself. Or you can jumpstart the process by using OpenBack as a platform. In addition to having our fully functional platform ready for you to integrate, we offer simple, intuitive onboarding and a full range of metrics to help track the progress of your push campaign.

To learn more about OpenBack, our platform, and our commitment to driving a privacy-first mobile industry, get in touch with one of our experts.




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