Considering the privacy design issues arising from conversation as platform

Ewa Luger, Gilad Rosner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Conversational agents have become a commonplace technology. They are present in our mobile devices, within the operating systems we use, and increasingly in other objects such as purpose-built artefacts and even children’s toys. Whilst they promise the opportunity for more ‘natural’ interactions with the systems we use, they come with notable privacy challenges. Low levels of user awareness of such systems, the implications of unwitting third party use, algorithmic opacity, and limited user comprehension of system intelligence all result in systems where consent and privacy are weakened. Locating such systems in the home and other such intimate settings further problematize their use. This paper explores some of the emerging interactional and privacy challenges posed by conversation-based systems and calls for further and rapid investigation of how we might address the growing power imbalance between user and system so that privacy might be preserved.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationData Protection and Privacy
Subtitle of host publicationThe Age of Intelligent Machines
EditorsRonald Leenes, Rosamunde Van Brakel, Serge Gutwirth, Paul De Hert
Place of PublicationOxford; Portland
PublisherHart Publishing
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781509919376, 9781509919352
ISBN (Print)9781509919345
Publication statusPublished - 28 Dec 2017


  • conversational agents
  • privacy
  • data protection
  • ethics


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