Right engineering? The redesign of privacy and personal data protection

Nils van Dijk, Alessia Tanas*, Kjetil Rommetveit, Charles Raab

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The idea of building safeguards for privacy and other fundamental rights and freedoms into ICT systems, has recently been introduced in EU legislation as ‘Data Protection by Design’. This article studies the techno-epistemic network emerging around this idea historically and empirically. We present the findings of an ‘extended peer consultation’ with representatives of the emerging network: policy makers, regulators, entrepreneurs and ICT developers, but also with jurists and publics that seem instead to remain outside its scope. Standardisation exercises here emerge as crucial hybrid sites where the contributions and expectations of different actors are aligned to scale up privacy design beyond single technologies and organizations, and to build highly interconnected ICT infrastructures. Through the notion of ‘privacy by network’, we study how the concept of privacy hereby becomes re-constituted as ‘normative transversal’, which both works as a stabilizing promise for responsible smart innovation, but simultaneously catalyzes the metamorphosis of the notion of privacy as elaborated in legal settings. The article identifies tensions and limits within these design-based approaches, which can in turn offer opportunities for learning lessons to increase the quality of privacy articulations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-256
Number of pages27
JournalInternational Review of Law, Computers and Technology
Issue number2-3
Early online date10 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • privacy by design
  • data protection by design
  • privacy engineering


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