Maintaining Privacy in Pervasive Computing — Enabling Acceptance of Sensor-Based Services

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In the near future, everyday objects like cars and home appliances will connect the living environment to information networks. Pervasive computing devices will allow applications to gather and share a large amount of information. This may then open up a market for a large range of new services and applications. With a world densely populated by ‘smart dust’ sensor devices, no single part of our life will be able to escape from digitisation. Soon, sensor networks will be able to track everything from our feelings to our behaviour. Besides the enormous potential value, we can foresee many undesirable uses. In a worst-case scenario, privacy implications, particularly the bad publicity around invasions of privacy, could block the incredible potential of pervasive computing. In this paper, we introduce the privacy issues found in the field of pervasive computing in two parts. The first part provides a brief look at the understanding of privacy, factors that can be used to control privacy, and the development of fair information practices and how they relate to the world of pervasive computing. The second part introduces technology that can provide a tool-set to support these fair information practices, and maintain the role of the data subject in the management of their private information.

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