The following review intends to summarize the main arguments of the text Ethical Design in the Internet of Things as well as propose three suggestions for improvement.
The text addresses privacy issues in relation to the Internet of Thing (IoT) and the increased collection of data. The authors suggests a framework for improving transparency and control for users in order to protect their personal data.
The authors argue that the lack of scrutiny in the area is not only due to technical reasons or lack of knowledge but is also caused by “[…] misplaced incentives from an economic point of view” (Baldini et al., 2016: 3), i.e. large businesses monetizing on user data.
The text is divided into two main sections. The first section identifies 11 emerging challenges in relation to IoT and suggests five “processes” that will mitigate these. The second section describes a potential implementation of an Ethical Design framework and is a translation of the challenges and processes from the previous section into concrete technical features of a proposed system. In short, the system relies on a program called SecKit which enable users to monitor and control the data they share, thereby improving transparency and control.
The main point of the paper is well defined and the structure supports the reading of the text as well as their main arguments. My first suggestion for improvement is the need to be more concrete in the choice of words. An example of this is the use of the word “processes” which is used to describe five ways that needs to be addressed in relation to IoT. The authors do not define the word and in this context it seems vague and confusing; what is a process?
Secondly, the authors simplify quite complex topics. An example of this is “Whereas the future is unpredictable by definition” (Baldini et al., 2016: 5) which is a definition that seems quite far fetched and does not provide any value to the phrase nor the text in general. One could have left out the cliché and communicated the point.
The third shortcoming I would like to point out is the length of sentences. I invite the authors to read over their text and ask themselves if sentences could be shortened in order to communicate clearer, more effectively and without the risk of losing the reader’s attention.