Ongoing Rese­arch

Ethical and Valu­e-­based Engi­nee­ring

We are inte­rested to under­stand how it possible to build tech­nical systems more ethi­cally and valu­e-­based. In this context Prof. Spie­ker­mann’s text­book “Ethical IT Inno­va­tion- A Value based Design Approach” is a major effort. It appeared in early 2016 with Taylor & Francis. Since then Prof. Spie­ker­mann has become co-chair of IEEE’s first global stan­dar­di­za­tion effort on ethical engi­nee­ring; the IEEE P7000 stan­dard. Till Winkler, a Ph.D. candi­date at the Insti­tute is looking into how we can bring ethical and value based engi­nee­ring into agile and highly inter­ac­tive deve­lop­ment processes that are the norm today.

In parallel, we have been trying to under­stand what it is that moti­vates or impedes engi­neers to prac­tically engage in valu­e-­based design and conducted a major empi­rical study to under­stand their beha­vior; in co-ope­ra­tion with Prof. Marc Lang­hein­rich (Univer­sity of Lugano). This work conti­nues at the Insti­tute in co-ope­ra­tion with Ph.D. candi­date Kathrin Bednar.

Privacy by Design & Personal Data Markets

The Insti­tute has a long tradi­tion in privacy rese­arch and some major thir­d-­party funded projects are currently conducted in this domain; inclu­ding the SPECIAL project and the Privacy & US Project. The Insti­tute also co-founded the Privacy & Sustainable Compu­ting Lab that is headed by Dr. Ben Wagner and is co-ope­ra­ting with many Insti­tutes inside and outside WU to streng­then this area of rese­arch. Professor Spie­ker­mann in parti­cular has worked on Privacy Impact Assess­ments and Privacy by Design in the past.

Privacy by Design work also included intense reflec­tions of the design of personal data markets and a co-ope­ra­tion with activist Wolfie Christl that led to the joint book on “Networks of Control”

Privacy Beha­vior

Our empi­rical rese­arch on disclo­sure beha­vior has seen various foci over the years. Prof. Spie­ker­mann origi­nally started to work on privacy in 2001 when disco­vering the Privacy Paradox during her Ph.D. Since then she has focused – espe­cially in co-ope­ra­tion with Jana Koru­n­ovska - on inter­face entropy in users’ disclo­sure beha­vior as well as users’ chal­lenges in proces­sing privacy notices. Also peoples’ valua­tion of their personal data has been an important rese­arch stream in the past years

Atten­tion as a Valuable Resource

In 2015 Jana Koru­n­ovska, Kathrin Bednar and Sarah Spie­ker­mann started working on atten­tion as a resource. Earlier work of Prof. Spie­ker­mann with Prof. Ales­sandro Acquisti (Carnegie Mellon Univer­sity, USA) preceded this effort to under­stand the effects of inter­rup­tions on peoples’ online purchase beha­vior. Since then the emphasis in this work has shifted and we have started working on how peoples’ atten­tion is compro­mised when using digital systems. We also completed a book on Nouris­hing Atten­tion to appear in 2017, which looks into how IT systems could be built with more atten­tion awareness.