HDI, the Internet of Things, System Design, and the Law: Workshop and Funding Call.

Workshop: 5 February 2020

Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) in London

We are pleased to announce this workshop and funding call for the UK EPSRC Network Plus Human Data Interaction (HDI) Project taking place on the 5th February 2020 at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) in London. You can read about more about the HDI Network Plus here.

Funding call: Proposal submission deadline: Monday, 16th March 2020

We are looking for high quality interdisciplinary proposals that consider the opportunities and challenges for HDI in the rapidly developing field of the Internet of Things. In this call we aim to fund one project at 50k, one at 10k and 3 at £2,500. Over the coming year there will be further calls under different themes. Please visit the site or follow us on Twitter for updates.

Challenges and Opportunities of the Internet of Things: The Internet of Things (IoT) is increasingly operating within many households and offices due to a number of factors. These include the increasing low costs involved in the computing power and the ease and access to cheap cloud storage, existing Internet connectivity, and the interest of governments and industry in extracting information from the masses of personal data (and other data) ubiquitously collected from all of the systems and devices involved. One such example is the use of smart thermostats that can detect human presence and adjust the air temperature accordingly and locking systems that are biometrically triggered.

For the individual, the IoT is already a feature of many people’s daily life through the use of so-called ‘wearables’. These include watches and glasses which may have sensors, microphones, or cameras embedded within them to enhance their traditional functions. According to the 2017 report by the Information Commissioner’s Office on Big Data devices for the ‘quantified self’ are worn regularly (if not constantly) in order for individuals to record, and then measure, their daily activities, eg sleep trackers and other wearables. Insurance companies have responded to the increasing shift by the public towards ‘life-logging’ their lifestyles and exercise habits on the Internet by developing policies that incentivise their customers to be tracked by monitoring the amount of exercise they undertake daily in return for lower premiums.

There is thus much useful functionality and convenience to be gained from these smart devices (TVs, speakers, and video doorbells). Along with these benefits, however, also come potential privacy risks since these devices and systems can communicate information about their users to other parties over the Internet which is then used for a multitude of different purposes.

About this workshop: Whether based on doctrinal analysis, or empirical research, papers should offer an original perspective on the implications posed by the IoT for HDI, data privacy, and the role of the human in this data-driven and data-sharing environment. This scope covers challenges posed in the field of engineering, privacy, data protection and security, law, governance and policy, and other related academic disciplines.

Topics of particular interest include:

  • Ensuring transparency and legibility of data processing
  • Openness of algorithmic design and operation
  • User control and agency
  • Data privacy and encryption
  • Fairness and profiling
  • Right to data portability
  • Data retention and review of storage
  • Data Protection by Design and Default
  • Impact of legal regimes, EU GDPR and US FTC regulations
  • Data breaches and notifications
  • Wearables and location data
  • IoT as a surveillance mechansim

We are also delighted to announce that Professor Yvonne Rogers (UCL) will deliver the morning keynote of this workshop.

How to apply for the workshop:

Please send an abstract of your presentation/position paper (500 words max) with some brief biographical information to To hdi-network {at} glasgow.ac.uk – places will be limited and so apply as soon as possible! Attendance is free and there is funding available to cover travel for people outside London. 

Abstracts will be reviewed by the project organisers of this research strand, including Prof. Matthew Chalmers (University of Glasgow), Dr. Hamed Haddadi (Imperial College, London), Dr. Nóra Ni Loideain (Director and Lecturer in Law, Information Law & Policy Centre, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London) and Dr. Alan J Munro (Coordinator, HDI Network Plus).

We look forward to hearing from you!

The HDI Team