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SHARING21 - Future Digital Sharing Interfaces



Langheinrich M.


Fedosov A.



With the abundance of cheap digital storage and the availability of high bandwidth connectivity – both via land lines and mobile phones – people increasingly put personal information online: for sharing it with others, for keeping a safe copy for themselves, or simply for the ease of use that online platforms offers. A large number of tools exist that facilitate the storage, publication, and exchange of a large variety of personal data. Visions of future computer environments foresee even more options for uploading and sharing personal information, as all kinds of real-world artifacts would have a digital doppelgänger – an “Internet of Things” in which digitally enriched items can not only detect their own context in real-time but also remember this and share it with other artifacts. With the many benefits that such systems may bring, however, come also threats of unauthorized access and use of such data. If unchecked, these huge digital “data shadows” might significantly erode personal privacy and threaten fundamental rights. In order to ensure that consumers in this brave new world will still be in control of their own digital traces, powerful access control tools are needed that can support sound online storage and content sharing decisions, even in the face of massive numbers of transactions involving a plethora of different data types. The SHARING21 project aims at understanding current practices of sharing personal content, both explicitly (e.g., with friends and family) and implicitly (e.g., with service providers through the use of their services), and to uncover corresponding end-user concerns across a wide variety of content, in order to map the design space for future user interface that empower end-users to stay in control of their shared data. The study will follow a three-tiered approach based on extensive surveys and in-depth interviews, the development of novel inspection and control interfaces, and the subsequent evaluation and analysis in pilot trials. Ultimately, it will result in a set of design guidelines for future end-user interface tools to better support the ever increasing sets of online data items and recipients.

Additional information

Start date
End date
47 Months
Funding sources
Swiss National Science Foundation / Project Funding / Mathematics, Natural and Engineering Sciences (Division II)