ESSfES: Everyday Safety-Security for Everyday Services

Lead Research Organisation: Royal Holloway, University of London
Department Name: Information Security


Since the early 2000s public service in the UK has undergone significant re-design and a fundamental part of the vision is to produce services used everyday by people that are safe and secure for all. Acknowledging the importance of safe and secure public services, this fellowship is specifically grounded in that area of service design and focuses on the connections between the ways that people create feelings of safety and security in their everyday lives and the protection of digital everyday services.

In the design of digital services, responses to concerns related to trust, identity, privacy and security have typically been handled as part of the digital interaction between service user and service provider and yet the techniques that people use to protect personal privacy, keep information confidential, build trust and manage identity are also enmeshed in their everyday routines and practices. Whilst human factors considerations are a long-established part of this security design process, the focus is typically more on designing for user interaction and the protection of their data rather than designing more broadly for the safety and security of people in their everyday lives. As everyday services are increasingly digitised and reach into almost every aspect of a person's life, it becomes a priority to link these two aspects of protection so that everyday practices become a part of a service engagement that protects an individual's privacy, trust and identity as well as contributing to their individual security.

Security in the context of everyday life is much wider than protection from technological attack; security is also the freedom to engage with these new forms of public service free from concern about threats to their personal safety, security or privacy. In this context not only must technological attack be considered but so too must service providers such as housing authorities, local councils and health care professionals being regarded as threat actors and malicious acts against individuals by family and friends through the misuse of public services be considered. When traditional service providers and members of a person's kin and friendship networks are regarded as sources of threat, people will deploy a wide range of social as well as technological practices to defend themselves. Successfully designing to support and improve these defences through social practices are as important as the design of technological defences.

This fellowship will develop a framework through which researchers can co-research and co-design with communities, develop interventions and create impactful techniques that support and improve social defences. Through the research framework relationships will be built between researchers, service producer and consumer communities and practitioners from the areas of everyday security and technological security design.

The fellowship programme will produce a handbook of real-world security-focused everyday service design research problems to be used as part of education programmes as well as the researcher communities. Additionally on-line engagements will be run periodically throughout the fellowship to promote broader thinking about designing to support trust, identity, privacy and security in everyday services.

This fellowship programme will also produce innovative technologies. Examples of possible prototypes include: sound and tactile maps to convey the lived experience of particular communities of service consumers, mapping techniques to show networks of trust across a geographical area, skills-swap technologies to facilitate knowledge transfer about trust, identity, privacy and security in a digitally mediated society and the development of virtual reality technology to help develop understanding of what identity, trust, security and privacy conflicts mean to different communities.

Planned Impact

The research proposed in this fellowship will benefit those citizens who engage with everyday services, including those services related to housing, health, employment, welfare, food and criminal justice. In 2013 it was estimated that circa 78% of the UK population was on-line and at this time the largest increase in Internet use could be seen in low-income households for whom one aspect of internet use is to gain access to digitally delivered everyday services such as housing, health, welfare, employment, education and transport. Given the density of internet use coupled with the progamme of delivering everyday services through digital means, this fellowship has the potential to have far reaching impact both within the UK and internationally. Everyday services include public services but the term also more widely covers services that are regarded as being designed for access by all.

The research proposed in this fellowship will also benefit those providing as well as consuming everyday services. Traditional service providers such as local authorities, public-private partnerships, commercial organisations and central government departments will benefit. The research in this fellowship will work with everyday services underpinned by a wide range of socially-driven economic models and therefore this research will also benefit the less traditional everyday service providers including: municipals, social enterprises, user-led organisations, community groups and co-operatives.

The benefits of the fellowship programme will be felt in the following ways:
- Citizens engaging with everyday services will be able to do so using methods of information sharing and protection that better fit their everyday lives and will be provided with techniques that enable them to safely leverage their networks of support as a means of safety and security.
- lncrease in service design awareness and knowledge about the importance of methods of the communication of service values. Through the promotion of the fellowship outputs and deliverables, the extent to which the presentation and communication of everyday services can be a contributing factor to both the protection of a person's everyday safety-security and of the everyday service will become clearer. Techniques of co-operative service operationalisation will also be evaluated as a possible method of reducing friction between service users and service providers.
- The publication of the security theories knowledge base, the dissemination of fellowship ouputs and the production of a handbook of real-world trust, identity, privacy and security challenges for everyday design will be used to influence understanding across stakeholder communities, including communities of service regulators.
- A wider range of technologies will also be produced. Possible technologies might include: mapping technologies to promote an understanding of the lived experiences of service users and to enable a visualisation of social threats vulnerablities, interactive maps to plot the networks of trust across a geographical area, skills-swap technologies designed to promote the exchange of protection skills know-how between communities and across generations and virtual reality technologies to promote an understanding of alternative view points on the value and conflicts related to trust, identity, privacy and security in the use of everyday services.


10 25 50