press release
Published: 03 May 2018

Improving data privacy across e-books and travel

Two University of Surrey academics have been awarded a combined total of £498k for research projects seeking to improve data privacy across digital platforms.

A digital key floating in a sea of data depicts digital data privacy
Credit: Getty

Dr Iis Tussyadiah and Professor Roger Maull have been given funding for two projects by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Professor Maull’s Dynamic, Real time, On-demand Personalisation for Scaling (DROPS) project will examine the privacy, trust and identity issues that arise from the development of personalised e-books for children’s reading. The collaborative project will be led by Professor Maull, along with Professor Irene Ng, University of Warwick and Professor Glenn Parry, University of the West of England. The total bid for funding on the project was £1.2m with EPSRC contributing £982k, of which £148k will go to Surrey. 

DROPS aims to develop a ThingsSpace platform which will use an existing personal data store, the Hub of All Things (HAT), to store personal data used by the e-books algorithm to adapt to the child’s educational needs. This will be used to document and evaluate issues resulting from its design and use, and inform the development of different economic and business models. This focus on children's reading is motivated by evidence showing the lack of research on privacy issues presented by personalised -books.

Professor Roger Maull, Deputy Head of Digital Economy and Professor of Management Systems at the University of Surrey, said: “The development of personalisation, or products/services tailored to a single human being, is perhaps the key business driver of the Digital Economy. It offers opportunities for firms to improve existing operations, develop new products and for consumers, personalisation offers enormous potential through improved wellbeing.”

The PRIvacy-aware personal data management and Value Enhancement for Leisure Travellers (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.

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 including eye-tracker, galvanic skin response sensors and facial action coding system. Field studies will following 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. 

The total bid for funding on the project was £1.4m with EPSRC contributing £1.13m where Surrey’s project value was £350k. PriVELT will be led by Professor Shujun Li, University of Kent; Dr Iis Tussyadiah, University of Surrey and Professor Jay Bal, University of Warwick.

Dr Iis Tussyadiah is Reader in Hospitality and Digital Experience at the University of Surrey and will lead the project team from Surrey as Principal Investigator along with co-investigators Professor Graham Miller (Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Professor of Sustainability in Business) and Professor Annabelle Gawer (Professor and Chair in Digital Economy). Dr Tussyadiah 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.”

Read more about TIPS2.0 and a full list of funded projects in the EPSRC press release: https://epsrc.ukri.org/newsevents/news/tipsresearchprojects/

Read more about EPSRC: epsrc.ukri.org/

Read more about research at Surrey Business School: https://www.surrey.ac.uk/business-school/research

Read more about research in the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management: https://www.surrey.ac.uk/school-hospitality-tourism-management/research