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H20-LEIT-LEIT-ICT-Information and Communication Technologies

Participation, Privacy and Power in the Sharing Economy

Awarded: NOK 1.4 mill.


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Project Period:

2017 - 2017


In this project, we propose an in-depth empirical investigation of privacy in the sharing economy. We will investigate three challenges in particular: privacy, participation/exclusion and power. First, sharing services come with compounded privacy risks extending beyond the informational into the physical realm. In addition, online sharing services entail both institutional and social privacy threats. Second, sharing services might exclude certain population segments and increase social inequality by systematically disadvantaging and discriminating against underprivileged groups (those living in remote areas, unemployed, impoverished disabled, disconnected, elderly) and favoring privileged individuals. Third and finally, sharing services may disempower users by detaching them from their possessions, by relying on opaque algorithms and creating new forms of distinction such as aruch as arbitrary rating systems, where manipulation is easy and possibilities to challenge the ratings are limited. We research the topic from a multi-disciplinary social science perspective and include a variety of methodological approaches as well as research contexts with our collaboration partners. To quantify these findings, we follow up with quantitative surveys that give us solid evidence on how power, privacy and participation are at play with sharing. By aggregating our findings in design principles for sharing platforms we intend to bring the design of sharing platforms to a new level of maturity by support the user centered, responsible and “fair” design of sharing platforms.

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Funding scheme:

H20-LEIT-LEIT-ICT-Information and Communication Technologies

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