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The false prometheus: customer choice, smart devices, and trust

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientific


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-97
Number of pages12
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2017
Publication typeB1 Article in a scientific magazine


In the information society of today, privacy is a premium service and user-related information a commodity. This development has gone unnoticed for many, but for some it contradicts with their common sense and perception of right and wrong. If we look into user agreements, and the effect Fair Information Practice Principles (FIPPs) seem to have, this development is particularly evident. One-on-one agreements such as End User License Agreements (EULAs) between the providers and users have become ubiquitous to most users who simply scroll through the agreement and click 'I agree' without actually understanding or caring what they have accepted.

There are various reasons for this kind of behavior ranging from complete indifference, to inadequate internet and technology literacy, and even to peer pressure as certain applications have become a 'must have' amongst a group of users. This problem is particularly current as personal mobile devices have become important, for some even inseparable, part of our daily lives. These devices, such as smart phones and tablets, have also become user-centered aggregation points of information that contain personal, even sensitive information about us, and those around us. At the same time, the number of different applications that have practically unrestrained access to the Internet, is on the rise.

When combined with ignorance and negligence, the risk of placing personal information into wrong hands is a very real one. In the following, we focus on this well-explored challenge from a novel perspective---informed consent---and argue that one way to address this problem is to develop solutions that not only promote personal choice and awareness, but are also context-dependent. In order to provide a practical insight into our primarily conceptual work, we use one of the most popular applications, the Pokémon GO by Niantic Inc., in highlighting some of the encountered privacy-related issues.

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