This text is a critique to the paper Ethical Design in the Internet of Things by Gianmarco Baldini, Maarten Botterman, Ricardo Neisse and Mariachiara Tallacchini published in 2016. The paper, open to everyone, covers privacy issues related to IoT (Internet of Things). Firstly the authors explain the concept of IoT and its perceived challenges, later they introduce the idea of Ethical Design and lastly they introduce Seckit as a tool for users and to approach regulatory purposes.


Opaque reflections on the process

At the beginning the authors provide two definitions of IoT (p. 2) but, why do they pick these ones? A guidance through their process could have help the reader understand why the authors write about Ethical Design in the first place and why do they pick this specific definitions? An example were the intentions of the writer remain unclear is when they express ‘the pervasiveness of Iot’. If the paper addresses everyone, why would they use this word instead of ‘widespread’ is there a negative connotation of the word?

Education to the users/citizens

The text explains very well the different aspects around IoT: new regulations (p. 3), the idea of context (p.5). Though, they do not focus on the education processes that can help users/ citizens today and how this ones relate to IoT. Its seems that this idea appears spread in different sections of the paper, for example, when the authors carefully illustrate on page 7, aspects related to the nature of the users and their capacities and how more qualified users are able to better control their privacy than others. Thus, interesting concepts arise: Incomplete information on the ‘consequence of data disclosure’, ‘Psychological biases’, ‘Accountability’, ‘on-line and off-line identity’ and ‘digital divide’. All these could conform a section focused on the user and education.

Reader considerations

As a reader, the first part of the paper becomes easy to read, the contextualisation bring strong arguments on why one should read it. Reflecting on regulations around privacy or referencing to surveillance mark the relevance of the subject. Nevertheless the lack of reflections or explanations behinds the author´s wishes or goals with this paper create certain distrust in the proposed tool at the end of the paper. It may seem that the paper is made to argument the tool, rather than the tool becoming a part of the possible approaches to the problem.


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