Research Seminar: Richard Mortier

Human-Data Interaction in the Databox

Dr Richard Mortier, Computer Science and Technology, University of Cambridge

Thursday 7th February 4pm Inspace, 1 Crichton Street


We are all the subjects of data collection and processing systems that use data generated both about and by us to support many services. Means for others to use such data — often referred to possessively as “your data” — are only increasing with the long-heralded advent of the Internet of Things just the latest example. Simultaneously, many jurisdictions have regulatory and statutory instruments to govern the use of such data. Means to enable personal data management is thus increasingly recognised as a pressing societal issue.

Richard Mortier and his team previously formulated a notion of Human-Data Interaction (HDI) in an attempt to bring some structure to the space. This resulted in the Databox, a platform enabling an individual data subject to manage, log and audit access to their data by others. The fundamental architectural change Databox embodies is to move from copying of personal data by others for central processing, to distribution of data analysis to a subject-controlled platform for execution. This provides a basis for data subjects to obtain HDI’s legibility, agency and negotiability in the use of their data. Richard will introduce HDI, and present the Databox platform design, implementation and current status. For more information, see https://www.databoxproject.uk or https://forum.databoxproject.uk/


Dr Richard Mortier is the Reader in Computing and Human-Data Interaction in the Systems Research Group of the University of Cambridge, Department of Computer Science & Technology (aka The Computer Laboratory). His past research has included work on Internet routing stability, distributed system performance analysis, network management, massively scalable databases, aesthetic designable machine-readable codes, and home network usability and security. He mixes systems with HCI, seeking to build user-centric systems infrastructure to enable Human-Data Interaction in our ubiquitous computing world. For more see http://mort.io

Inspace, 1 Crichton Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9YL