Horizon CDT Research Highlights

Research Highlights

Law and HCI: Designing for effective regulation of human agency in ambient domestic computing

  Lachlan Urquhart (2012 cohort)   www.nottingham.ac.uk/~psxlu1

The PhD is split into four parts looking at bringing legal and regulatory concerns into human computer interaction and technology design. We frame this through human agency and ambient computing.

  1. Theory: Firstly, we present theoretical work from the fields of regulation and human computer interaction around notions of regulation by design. We consider what it conceptually means for technology designers to be regulators (eg in privacy by design). We argue that there needs to be greater understanding of the epistemic roots in HCI and regulation in order for regulation by design to materialise. We consolidate and critique a broad range of disparate work, define similarities and gaps in the theory, and suggest mechanisms and framings that will bring the fields closer together.

  2. Legal: Secondly, we look at the complex legal challenges that designers will need to engage with in their role as 'regulators'. We situate these discussions within case studies around domestic smart energy management: specifically the internet of things, smart metering and smart grids. We map the ecosystems of actors, their legal relationships, the data flows and analyse these in terms of impacts on underpinning human values the law seeks to protect.

  3. Empirical: Thirdly, we conduct a set of interviews experts from law and design. We speak to both academics and practitioners in order to understand the different challenges they face. This provides us with detailed insight that complements the theoretical work.

  4. Design Interventions: Finally, we look at how to move privacy by design from rhetoric to practice. We do this through two design interventions. Firstly, we designed a new set of information privacy ideation cards to help designers constructively think about the data protection implications of their work. These translate the new EU General Data Protection Regulation into a more accessible format, defining both end user rights and designer responsibilities. These are being tested and refined through education and industry contexts. We also designed a conceptual toolbox that helps regulators understand technology design.


Recent Work 2015 - 2016

  1. Book Chapter - L Urquhart – “Privacy and Freedom of the Press from 2004-2015: From Campbell to Leveson” Forthcoming L Edwards Law, Policy and the Internet 2016 available on SSRN

  2. Journal Paper – L Edwards and L Urquhart “Privacy in Public Spaces: What Expectations of Privacy Do We Have in Social Media Intelligence?” Forthcoming available on SSRN

  3. Short Paper, DENS Grant and Workshop Organiser - with D Darzentas “Interdisciplinary Reflections on Games and Human Values” Proceedings of ACM CHI Play 2015

  4. Guest Editor – Society of Computers and Law: Special Focus Smart Cities, June/July 2015 Edition

  5. Helped run international conference, Smart Cities: Regulatory Challenges and Opportunities at University of Strathclyde in March 2015, Glasgow.

  6. Paper – L Urquhart and E Luger “Smart Cities: Creative Compliance and the Rise of Designer as Regulators” Society of Computers and Law June 2015

  7. Horizon and Microsoft Research Project

Confirmed Forthcoming Conferences 2016

  1. 11-12 April 2016 “Privacy by Design and the Internet of Things: From Rhetoric to Practice using Information Privacy Cards” 31st BILETA Conference 2016, University of Herefordshire

  2. 21-23 April 2016 - “Regulation by Design for Ambient Domestic Computing: Lessons from Human Computer Interaction” 7th Biannual Surveillance and Society Conference, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain (PhD studentship awarded)

This author is supported by the Horizon Centre for Doctoral Training at the University of Nottingham (RCUK Grant No. EP/G037574/1) and by the RCUK’s Horizon Digital Economy Research Institute (RCUK Grant No. EP/G065802/1).