Who they are
Ally Chatbot is an online messaging service for people at risk of being homeless. It provides users with tailored, up-to-date advice on what benefits are available to them. Over the last few years there has been a huge change in the British benefits system creating confusion, strain on the front-line services which normally provide this advice, and a stigma around homeless people in seeking advice. The founder had the idea whilst working at a YMCA in Islington.
When we met Ally Chatbot they were part of the Bethnal Green Ventures programme. Their service had just begun being rolled out in beta, to small groups. Their founder was actively looking for external support with their data privacy and security challenges.
They were aware that lots of the data they were asking people to provide was very sensitive and they wanted to be able to ensure they could store it and use it responsibly. This required a thorough review of a number of third-party technologies which they relied upon to deliver the service (for instance, Facebook and Chatfuel, among others).
What we did
Adapt carried out a typical discovery phase with Ally Chatbot – we looked at all third-party technologies, each of the party’s policies, and Ally Chatbot’s communication with their users. We then developed recommendations on which parties to use, a definition of their own policy framework, and how to communicate it to their users.
We also completed a subsequent piece of work focussed on their policies – including their data management policy, their operational guidelines and a review of their cloud security policy. We are currently in the final phase of working with them on how to ensure informed consent through their chatbot interface.
Our work removed the risk the company faced from a data protection perspective, at the same time as increasing transparency and trust with their users. We also advised Ally Chatbot on their platform configuration to support responsible sharing of data with housing associations.