Trust, Privacy and Consent in Future Pervasive Environments

We live in a world in which our ability to capture personal user data far exceeds our understanding of how to manage issues of trust, privacy and consent with potentially far-reaching consequences for both individuals and society. Without independent academic research in this space we run the risk of privacy and trust being sacrificed in the rush to commercially exploit these new sensing capabilities. In this project we will conduct pioneering interdisciplinary research to create the world’s first comprehensive system for privacy and consent management in future pervasive environments, i.e. environments with a wide range of sensing capabilities. Our work is informed by two scenarios – human memory augmentation and personalised information presentation. Both applications have the potential to transform key areas of our society yet raise significant privacy and consent issues that are likely to inhibit their deployment. Our work involves multiple stakeholders including the NHS and the BBC that represent these application scenarios and that are committed to working closely with the project throughout its lifetime. The project draws on expertise from computer science, design and psychology to deliver both new models for consent and privacy and, a detailed understanding of the cognitive vulnerabilities of users of future pervasive environments, resulting in a prototype platform for privacy and consent management. In addition to delivering significant near-term benefits to our stakeholders, if successful the project has the potential to position the UK as an international leader in privacy and consent in future pervasive environments and to help catalyze the emergence of this important area of the digital economy.


Project website

Funded by the EPSRC (EP/N028228/1).

Further Material

University of Lancaster

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University of Essex

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