Over the last year, we have become almost wholly reliant on the use of digital platforms for many aspects of our lives. From remote working and schooling to online shopping and online entertainment to digital health and fitness tracking, we have been propelled into a digitally mediated world. Companies want us to sign in to collect and process our data, but we rarely have the time, or the information, to understand the full implications of these terms, conditions, and privacy notices. While numerous groups including international organisations, governments, researchers and societal groups have tried to improve the situation through the creation of new tools, whether these are improving trust in digital services is still uncertain.
“Who Should I trust with my Data?” is the big theme under discussion at the second of ADAPT’s Online “Think-In” series 2021 on Wednesday 9 June 2021 4.00-5.45pm. At this Public Think-In, researchers from the ADAPT led PROTECT research network will engage the public in lively discussion using everyday real life scenarios around personal online data use. We want to discuss the risk and controls around our everyday online behaviour, understand the impact of our data trails being shared with third parties and learn what is required to ensure the protection of the public against personal data misuse.
Digital technology and the proliferation of new platforms has rapidly changed how we access information, how we work and how we connect with each other. This has also given rise to an massive increase in the amount of personal data information being gathered. To unlock the full economic and social potential of this data requires a high level of trust between the public and big tech organisations in terms of privacy protection and measures to mitigate the misuse of personal data. The PROTECT team at ADAPT aims to develop new ways to empower users of digital services across all age groups, and to offer new ways to enable companies to incorporate data protection and privacy into their engagement models.
Participants will be given a full introduction to the topic at the event, and we will be seeking insights around the following questions: Who should we trust with our Data? Do we the Public fully understand the implications of terms, conditions and privacy notices and what is the level of trust between us and big tech organisations who control our data?
Participants will be invited to share opinions in group discussions and no expertise in the area is required – all necessary details will be provided and the organisers are interested in hearing opinions from everyone.
The public opinions gathered during the Think-In will play an important role in shaping future ADAPT research into data ethics and trust. The impact of this Think-In is timely in the context of new legislation under the Data Governance Act which has led to the proposed introduction of new data governance models and trusted intermediaries to improve trust between individuals who share their data with Big Tech organisations and to further drive the data for good agenda.
Speaking about the ADAPT Citizens’ Think-In, on Trust, Professor Dave Lewis, PROTECT Network Coordinator, from Trinity College Dublin’s School of Computer Science and Statistics said:
“Our work at the PROTECT network is rooted in investigating methods to protect the rights and interests of individuals impacted by the large-scale analysis of personal data while still enabling society to benefit from rapid innovation in digital technologies. Through this type of rich engagement with the public we can better understand the public’s interests needs and motivations when developing research in the area of data ethics and trust “
ADAPT’s Citizens’ Think-Ins are public forums that bring people together to discuss some of the ethical issues we face in the digital age giving members of the public an opportunity to interact and inform researchers at the cutting-edge of AI research and development. ADAPT’s work focuses on Human Centric AI driven digital content technology and as such these are highly informed and engaging discussion forums that contribute to rich learning outcomes for all participants. A former participant said :
“It definitely got people from the public and researchers chatting. [The event] promoted awareness and understanding, and gave participants an opportunity to have a say”
The event is part of a series of ADAPT Citizens’ Think-Ins on the ethical issues we face in the digital age. The next Citizens’ Think-In will see ADAPT partner with Smart D8 and St James’ Hospital on 7 July 2021 to hold a public discussion focusing on the question “What is My Health Information?”.
The Citizens’ Think-In series is funded by the Science Foundation Ireland Discover Call. PROTECT ITN has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 813497.
Date: Wednesday, 9 June 2021
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