Privacy, Trust and Ethical Issues

  • Nigel Shadbolt
  • Kieron O’Hara
  • David De Roure
  • Wendy Hall
Part of the Lecture Notes in Social Networks book series (LNSN)


This chapter looks at the issues that social machines raise about privacy, trust and ethics. The chapter begins by surveying the ethical significance of the various roles that are created by social machines, including the individual participant and the designer, and looks at the rights and duties that the occupants of these roles have. Social machines are considered as a particular type of social enterprise or project. The necessity for social machines to generate trust, and how that might impact the wider ethical status of social machines, is also considered. A type of ethical functionalism is described in which the flourishing of the social machine is taken as the basic requirements of ethics considered only from within the machine, not taking into account the outside content. Attitudes towards data and algorithms are considered, and means to render flows of data transparent are discussed, as means of putting social machine participants in control. Such means include privacy indicators, personal data stores and the X-Ray Refine system that explains data flows from a user’s smartphone. The ways in which people use technology to present themselves in certain ways (informational self-determination) are studied, and some experiments with social technologies that could aid informational self-determination are reported. In a final section, the specific and sensitive case of healthcare social machines is surveyed, including looking at areas where data use has a social aspect, such as participatory digital surveillance, quantified patient and social palliative care. Modelling social aspects of institutional procedures in the medical space is also considered, taking the examples of integrated care pathways and data safe havens.


Algorithms Crime Data Data flow Data safe havens Data use Deception Designer (of social machines) Digital participatory surveillance Emergence Ethical functionalism Ethical roles Ethics Exploitation Fairness (of algorithms) Healthcare Heart Manual Integrated care pathways Journalism Justice Palliative social media Personal data stores (PDSs) Policing Privacy Privacy indicators Privacy languages Quantified patient Scale Self-curation Smartphones Social computation Telos Transport Trust X-Ray Refine 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nigel Shadbolt
    • 1
  • Kieron O’Hara
    • 2
  • David De Roure
    • 3
  • Wendy Hall
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK
  2. 2.Electronics and Computer ScienceUniversity of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK
  3. 3.Oxford eResearch CentreUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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