Democratic Data Governance

DCODE Labs — Aniek Kempeneers rethinks the design of digital consent

Exploring design solutions for consent interactions on online platforms

Digital platforms rely heavily on harvesting end-user data. And while people have started to gain knowledge on how their data is being used to predict their behaviours, hook them on the content, and influence their worldviews, they are growing increasingly concerned about not knowing what such data reveal, for what purpose, and to whom. Yet, digital platform organisations need data to sustain their business models. This data is of great value for their partners, who acquire it for scopes that too often go beyond the control of both the end-users and organisations. In other words, while end-users are unable to practice their digital right to privacy and consent, and organisations lack incentives or tools to safeguard both their interests and their users.

Through empirical design research, Aniek’s design research defines a future vision desired by both end-users and organisations by identifying the frictions that hinder its achievement and the value similarities and tensions to be considered for obtaining effective and meaningful consent practices and disclosure interactions. The resulting design directions are applied to the recent 2019 IBM-Flickr case, where permissive Creative Commons licenses allowed the collection of photos of human faces by the surveillance industry worldwide. A new consent journey was created that balances the privacy considerations of end-users and the interests of the platform and its partners in creating image datasets for AI training purposes.

Aniek graduated from Delft University of Technology in our Digital Sovereignty Lab. Her graduation project was supervised by Elisa Giaccardi and Lianne Simonse in collaboration with Heather Wiltse and was conducted in collaboration with our associate Open Future.

Read about Aniek’s session on AI Commons with Open Future at Mozilla Fest 2022.

Read about Aniek’s design solutions for the 2019 IBM-Flickr case.

Download Aniek’s master thesis here.

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