Personal Data and Transparency

Reuben Binns, PhD Web Science
Supervisors: Lisa Harris, Management David Millard, Computer Science Roksana Moore, Law, @RDBinns

Every day, web users give away information such as likes and dislikes, purchase histories, messages, emails, tweets, GPS co­ordinates, browsing habits and search terms. Many people now track their daily activity, health and diet via the web. When combined, such data constitutes a rich digital profile of our lives. Mining and analysing this data can reveal a lot for marketers, researchers and individuals themselves. Three related research themes will be explored through the disciplines of Computer Science, Management and Law.

Machine and Human-Readable Data Use Agreements
Online privacy policies are usually written by and for lawyers, rather than people or machines. A number of socio-technical solutions have been proposed, including machine-readable policies and preferences, simplified human-readable privacy icons, and crowd-sourced policy assessments. How can privacy practices and preferences be effectively communicated via the web? Platform for Privacy Preferences (W3C standard)


Privacy Icons
(examples from Mozilla / CCBY-SA)

Function Creep in Personal Data Collection
While the amount of personal data collected has increased, the number of different purposes to which it is being put is unknown. 'Function creep' refers to the gradual widening of the use of a piece of data beyond the purpose for which it was originally collected. By gathering and analysing open government data from EU data protection authorities, I intend to examine the extent of function creep over time and between jurisdictions.

We don't share your data with third parties We give your data to the authorities

We store your data indefinitely We don't sell your data

The Emerging Personal Data Landscape
“Personal data is the new oil of the Internet and the new currency of the digital world.”
Meglena Kuneva, European Consumer Commissioner, March 2009
As the value and use of personal data grows, new technology, systems and norms are developing around it. These three research projects present a broader picture of the personal data landscape by investigating different, but related aspects of its emerging infrastructure.

Holistic Privacy Strategy
Within an organisation, legal departments take responsibility for data protection compliance. But a broader perspective on privacy also involves system design and corporate social responsibility. To what extent do the relevant departments go beyond compliance to work together on overall privacy strategy?

Data Protection

System design Privacy Strategy 1

Corporate Social Responsibility
Web Science

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