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In the article ‘Ethical Design in the Internet of Things’, from 2016, Baldini et. al. look at how IoT can be designed to empower users in controlling and protecting their own personal data. This is specifically deemed important in a time where an increased awareness is happening towards privacy and security risks. Introducing the concept of “Ethical Design”, in addition with a practical toolkit called SecKit, Baldini et. al. argue for this to support ‘privacy by design’, in the means of a set of principles and rules to be applied within digital architectures or designs.

I will now continue to address some points for critique, complemented with both examples and suggestions for further improvement.

Lack of transition within sections

A couple of times, that they lack proper explanation and transition between their statements. For example, on p. 2 after explaining two principles in FIPP, they state “There are two key principles which will be addressed in the framework proposed in this paper”. Hereafter, they move on to refer to another author studying main challenges to guarantee data protection laws, thus something entirely different. Both beforehand, and after the statement it should be more visible why they are mentioning these two principles to be addressed, when they just leave it there.

What research is this coming from?

What actual research has resulted in this concept of “Ethical Design”? What evidence do they have for what they are stating? They do a good job of quoting and referring to other studies and authors. Is this their own concept? I would probably have provided an explanation to this, whatever the explanation might be. Empirical study or ethnographic observation etc.

No conflict of interest?

After their conclusion they briefly state “the authors declare that they have no conflict of interest” (p. 20). This make me wonder, what kind of question the authors have asked themselves? How is it possible to state this? All four of them, each have their own perspective, worldviews, ideas, beliefs – each affecting how they do research and how they experience these issues. Do they think that by stating this, it will have a certain effect on the readers? A recommendation could be to introduce a direct statement where the writers express their reasons why for choosing to declare this, to give the reader a context and reasoning.

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