Improving data privacy across travel

In 2018 the PRIvacy-aware personal data management and Value Enhancement for Leisure Travellers (PriVELT) project, led by Prof Iis Tussyadiah along with academics from two other universities, was awarded £1.13m in funding by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). 

The PriVELT project aims to develop a user-centric platform allowing travellers to better manage the sharing of their personal data and encourage a more transparent and effective use of data by travel service providers. It is led by Prof Iis Tussyadiah, Professor of Intelligent Systems in Service at the University of Surrey, alongside Professor Shujun Li from the University of Kent, and the University of Warwick’s Professor Jay Bal. 

Experimental studies will be conducted to assess the privacy-related decision-making process and data sharing behaviours of travellers. These include lab-based user studies in the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management’s Digital Lab, capturing psychophysiological measurements using eye-tracker, galvanic skin response sensors and facial action coding system. Field studies will follow similar methods as well as a large-scale consumer survey. This project will go towards forming part of the school’s wider research agenda to better understand travellers’ decision-making processes and to design technologies for behavioural change. 

Prof Tussyadiah, who leads the project team from Surrey as Principal Investigator, said: “I am excited to collaborate with the consortium to address the two-sided challenges around privacy and personalised services across personal data management. I believe PriVELT will help foster a more responsible personal data management behaviour and at the same time stimulate the growth of the industry.” 

In March 2019 Prof Tussyadiah became the first female president of the International Federation for Information Technologies in Travel and Tourism (IFITT). IFITT is the leading independent global community for the discussion, exchange and development of knowledge about the use and impact of new information and communication technologies in the travel and tourism industry.   

“The founders and previous presidents have built IFITT into the strong community that it is today,” said Prof Tussyadiah. “My vision as president is to take that legacy further as we face new challenges in the future. We will do that by forming strong relationships between academia, industry and government, which will encourage research and development in ICT and tourism that address society’s challenges.”