InviDasCopyright: © Sarah Rauch
Interactive, Visual Data Spaces for Sovereign, Privacy-Aware Decision Making
- 01.05.2020 to 30.04.2023
- Research Area:
- Information Design and Data Visualization
For athletes, grandparents, or even children, wearable health technologies are becoming increasingly popular. Wearables or fitness trackers process highly sensitive personal data, for which manufacturers must obtain the consent of users in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation, in short GDPR. Since the corresponding data protection regulations, as legal texts, are difficult for users to understand, the research project Interactive, Visual Data Spaces for Sovereign, Data Protection Decision Making, in short InviDas, deals with the visual representation of data protection regulations of different health technology manufacturers. The aim of the project is to create greater comprehensibility and transparency for users.
Digital innovations such as fitness watches and smartwatches support sports and other everyday activities. In return, however, users often must disclose sensitive data about themselves. For users, this raises questions such as “What data is necessary?” or “What does the manufacturer actually need my date of birth for?” Many people agree to a wide-scale provision of their personal data without understanding exactly what happens with it.
With the GDPR, there is a legal approach that addresses this data interface between people and health technology. However, manufacturer privacy statements are often legally worded and extensive, so they are accepted without the user achieving full understanding of their content. However, even with the willingness to read privacy policies, some users lack the legal and technical background knowledge.
This is where the scope of the InviDas research project lies: Through interactive data visualizations, users of smart wearables should gain a better understanding of, but also increased trust in, the digital processes to which they agree.
InviDas thus pursues the goal of promoting individual digital sovereignty. Users should better understand abstract contexts and be able to make a self-determined, informed decision about the use of their health technology – regardless of their age or other characteristics such as individual affinity for technology.
To this end, the project will create a platform with visualizations of data privacy statements that will communicate key data privacy aspects not only to current but also to potential users of digital health technologies. The central goal of this platform is allowing users an understanding of what happens to the personal data points provided.
On the platform, users will be able to compare the privacy statements of different devices and health technology manufacturers based on visualizations. The platform is intended to explain which data is shared with whom and for what purpose it is passed on. Keywords such as data collection, storage and disclosure are to be communicated visually.
The Institute of Industrial Engineering and Ergonomics is primarily working on the user-centered development and evaluation of the platform. To this end, the needs and requirements of such a platform are first ascertained from the perspective of the users. In an iterative user-centered design process, the development of the platform is then accompanied before a final trial is conducted, in which the potential individual as well as societal benefits of the platform are evaluated.
“Interactive, Visual Data Spaces for Sovereign, Privacy-Aware Decision Making” (InviDas) is funded within the framework of the research program “Bringing Technology to People” of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research under grant number 16SV8536.