“Privacy by default” and active “informed consent” by layers. Essential measures to protect ICT users’ privacy

Date09 May 2016
Published date09 May 2016
AuthorAmaya Noain-Sánchez
Subject MatterInformation & knowledge management,Information management & governance,Information & communications technology
“Privacy by default” and active
“informed consent” by layers
Essential measures to protect ICT
users’ privacy
Amaya Noain-Sánchez
Complutense University, Madrid, Spain
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to lay out an approach to addressing the problem of privacy
protection in the global digital environment based on the importance that information has to improve
users’ informational self-determination. Following this reasoning, this paper focuses on the suitable
way to provide user with the correct amount of information they may need to maintain a desirable grade
of autonomy as far as their privacy protection is concerned and decide whether or not to put their
personal data on the internet.
Design/methodology/approach – The authors arrive at this point in their analysis by qualitative
discourse analysis of the most relevant scientic papers and dossiers relating to privacy protection.
Findings – The goal of this paper is twofold. The rst is to illustrate the importance of privacy by
default and informed consent working together to protect information and communication technology
(ICT) users’ privacy. The second goal is to develop a suitable way to administrate the mentioned
“informed consent” to users.
Originality/value – To full this purpose, the authors present a new concept of informed consent:
active “informed consent” or “Opt-in” model by layers. “Opt-in” regimens have already been used with
cookies but never with 2.0 applications, as, for instance, social network sites (SNS).
Keywords Privacy, Internet ethics, Users
Paper type Viewpoint
1. Introduction
The protection of personal data in the internet has gained signicant attention because
of the increased collection of private information online and the superior capabilities for
searching, tagging and aggregating this information that new information and
communication technologies (ICTs) provide. This is not a minor issue; therefore, it is not
surprising that in recent years, there has been a lot of interest in studying issues relating
to privacy concerns that users have and how these might affect their online activities.
Governments from several democratic countries, as well as public and private
institutions, are forced to face these new challenges for data protection, underlining an
urge for a new set of rules and technical improvements aimed principally to enforce
users’ control over data and enhance their informational self-determination.
In line with it, in 2011, the German National Academy of Science and Engineering
(ACATECH) launched a project that focuses on the privacy dilemmas associated with
the internet, developing recommendations for a “culture of privacy and trust”, core
values and conditions to increase a safer use of ICT. The term “culture” has not been
chosen at random. It is used to emphasize that dealing with the privacy dilemmas
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
Received 19 October 2014
Revised 1 February 2015
14 March 2015
26 March 2015
8 May 2015
Accepted 9 May 2015
Journalof Information,
Communicationand Ethics in
Vol.14 No. 2, 2016
©Emerald Group Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/JICES-10-2014-0040

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