Users as Prosumers of PETs: The Challenge of Involving Users in the Creation of Privacy Enhancing Technologies

Users as Prosumers of PETs: The Challenge of Involving Users in the Creation of Privacy Enhancing Technologies

Julio Angulo (Karlstad University, Sweden)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4313-0.ch012
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Abstract

Frequent contact with online businesses requires Internet users to distribute large amounts of personal information. This spreading of users’ information through different Websites can eventually lead to increased probabilities for identity theft, profiling and linkability attacks, as well as other harmful consequences. Methods and tools for securing people’s online activities and protecting their privacy on the Internet, called Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PETs), are being designed and developed. However, these technologies are often perceived as complicated and obtrusive by users who are not privacy aware or are not computer or technology savvy. This chapter explores the way in which users’ involvement has been considered during the development process of PETs and argues that more democratic approaches of user involvement and data handling practices are needed. It advocates towards an approach in which people are not only seen as consumers of privacy and security technologies, but where they can play a role as the producers of ideas and sources of inspiration for the development of usable PETs that meet their actual privacy needs and concerns.
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Concepts On Privacy And User-Centered Design

In order to set the scope for the further discussions presented in this chapter, this section introduces a short background on the definition of privacy and the notion of privacy enhancing technologies. Also, the traditions of user involvement for the design of technology, of user-centered and participatory design are presented.

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