The nature of risk in the privacy calculus: a risk ontology presented by Dr David Haynes

Dr David Haynes

Dr David Haynes presents his research

Colleagues in the Centre for Social Informatics are delighted that Dr David Haynes – currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at City University – will be joining us as a new lecturer in the School of Computing at Edinburgh Napier University in January 2020.

In preparation for his move to Scotland, David has spent the past few days with us in Edinburgh. As part of this visit, on Friday 30th August David delivered a research seminar on the research that he is undertaking for his postdoctoral fellowship. His project concerns the nature of online risk from the perspective of individuals. It is supported by Royal Academy of Engineering and the Office of the Chief Scientific Adviser for National Security (Dr Anthony Finkelstein) under the UK Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme (grant number ICRF1718\1\54).

Five main questions are addressed in this work:

  1. Is there a reliable typology for personal risk that can be used to analyse the privacy calculus in which users engage?
  2. What is the nature of the interactions and risks that in which users engage when they use the Internet?
  3. Can the new risk typology be applied to existing empirical data to refine the privacy calculus?
  4. What effect will the new categorisation of risk have?
  5. Can these figures be used to improve the predictions of user behaviour?

Drawing on existing typologies and published literature on personal online risk, and with reference to six case studies, David has developed an ontology using Synaptica’s Graphite software to represent the complex relationships between risk concepts. This work has contributed to the development of a multi-layered model of online risks at the level of individuals.

In his presentation David explained the processes involved in creating the new ontology and displayed elements of the model. His talk prompted much discussion amongst colleagues, from questions on the representation of concepts to debate of the academic/theoretical, practical, and commercial value of the study’s output. We are very much looking forward to learning more about the final conclusions from this research later this year, and to the arrival of David as a member of our research group in January 2020.

Audience question time at Dr David Haynes’ research seminar, with Dr Colin Smith, Dr Wegene Demeke and Dr Frances Ryan

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