Privacy Research Directions
Views and new studies about privacy from researchers at Aalborg University, Denmark
The promise of the digital society is predicated on individuals using applications and services where they reveal personal details and create information. The term privacy has come to encompass not just personally identifiable information (PII) in the technical sense, but the commercial, legal and regulatory polices about how users interact with a range of technologies and the notion that users should be aware of the information they create and how it is used. The issue of privacy extends beyond the cookies that collect information about web browsing to massive databases of collected information to surveillance cameras and connected devices.
A holistic view of privacy needs to move beyond platitudes such as ‘There’s no privacy. Get over it’ and ‘No tracking should be allowed at all’. As such, privacy needs to be a symbiosis that takes into account a variety of perspectives including business, regulatory, technical, and not least, the preferences of users, which may vary considerably. There is no doubt that many users will stop using applications if they feel abused. But without any information on their users, most internet companies would collapse. Indeed, information can improve a system to the user’s benefit. Moreover if users are educated and informed about how information is used, they may increase their information sharing.
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