Designing for privacy & ethics: DEVELOP talk at interaction 18

Tuesday, 6. February 2018

By Fiona Mc Andrew, Trinity College Dublin - Learnovate, Ireland

Fiona Mc Andrew from the DEVELOP partner Trinity College Dublin, Ireland will be giving a presentation on the topic "Designing for privacy & ethics"  on 8 Feb 2018 in scope of the interaction 18 conference in Lyon, France.

To tell the story of Designing for Privacy & Ethics, Fiona will talk about what these terms can mean, what they mean in the current societal context, the issues that arise when applying privacy and ethics to digital products, and proposed methods of applying useful and usable privacy and ethics standards to digital products.

Using her experience in the European project DEVELOP, which has privacy and ethical considerations embedded by default, Fiona will walk the audience through the challenges and opportunities of designing for privacy and ethics.

There are four parts to Fiona's talk:

  1. What do terms like privacy and ethics mean?
  2. What do privacy and ethics mean in the current landscape of software products? Data leakages and manipulated news have led to the general public having an increased distrust in digital products. Regulations are being put in place to help the end user take control and become aware of their personal information, the GDPR in Europe for example. Whether this regulation will serve the end user remains to be seen.
  3. The challenges that result out of this landscape are complex and plentiful.
    • For example, the typical end user is not equipped with the knowledge to ask for something better. For reasons such as mixed recommendations and misinformation, lack of time to learn about policies, and lack of understanding around the mid to long term effects. There is often a paradox between their desires and their actions, for example, they will often sacrifice control for convenience.
    • For designers, there are no fixed set of solutions that can be dropped into place and simply implemented. Part of this comes from the relative immaturity of the field; there just aren’t that many established design patterns.
    • Compounded on top of all of this is the diversity of cultures and yet there is monoculture when it comes to digital products.
  4. Recommendations: Fiona will suggest, given the current landscape, having a transparent privacy and ethical policy could serve as a competitive advantage. Fiona will propose methods which she has used in an attempt to create a useful and usable product while holding to defined privacy and ethical policies. She recommends enlisting the expertise of subject matter experts, and working with people from a political science and legal background. With this team, she suggests co-creating a set of evocative scenarios, that help to visualise and make real the sometimes complex and abstract privacy and ethical risks, as a powerful tool for ensuring that technological systems are designed in a privacy-friendly way. Once created these scenarios can be used by the product development team as conversational pieces when designing.

Find more information about the conference, Fiona's talk and her background at the interaction 18 conference page: