Data, Privacy & Empowerment
About this Research Area
The Data, Privacy and Empowerment (DPE) unit critically investigates the (dis)empowerment of people within the complex interaction between humans, data and digital technologies. This investigation takes place in relation to privacy, literacy, ethics, accountability and other public values.
The goal of research within the DPE unit is to better understand and intervene in the data agency of people when they interact with digital technologies. To this end, the unit’s researchers employ innovative methods and integrated study ‘on the ground’ of
- private and professional users (organisations),
- technological platforms, and
- policy frameworks.
The unit’s social science research is thus centered around lived experiences of people and organisations when they interact with digital technologies. DPE researchers conduct a socio-technical analysis of digital technologies with a focus on how they are (not) built according to public expectations, legal requirements and ethical standards. To do so, they investigate and develop hands-on tools to enable participatory processes in policy and regulation, taking into account all relevant stakeholders. The aim is always to enhance the agency and literacy of users / citizens / patients / consumers / employees / regulators.
Main themes within DPE research:
- inclusion, participation and cooperative responsibility of all stakeholders in societal innovations,
- transparency, explanation, and data literacy around AI projects,
- data governance and protection in organizations (from SMEs to public authorities and large corporations),
- citizen involvement in innovation and surveillance in the public sector,
- societal consequences of platformization and datafication in different sectors (media, health, smart cities, banking and education).