Trusted Things & Communities: Understanding & Enabling A Trusted IoT Ecosystem

Lead Research Organisation: City University London
Department Name: Sch of Engineering and Mathematical Sci


The Internet of Things (IoT) concept refers to the seamless integration of physical objects, sensors and mobile devices onto the Internet. The IoT encompasses many different technologies, services and standards and is seen by many as the cornerstone of the ICT market in the coming years. However, IoT solutions comprise more than just the hardware and software necessary to realize the technical infrastructure, as they also include the human actors, organisations, policies and regulatory systems involved. With some estimates predicting 50 billion devices by 2020, and the proportion of data collected passively through machine-to-machine transactions surpassing that actively generated by individuals - solutions are needed to strengthen trust.

Using an existing community Internet of Things testbed located in the Tillydrone district of Aberdeen, we will explore what it means to realize solutions that are transparent, accountable, and which empower end-users. The TrustLens is our vision of a future toolset that will enable individuals, and the communities of which they are a part, to better understand and manage the data about them. However, before we can realize the TrustLens, several key issues need to be investigated:

What are the appropriate governance arrangements covering IoT deployments? How do we deliver meaningful accountability? How can we develop an understanding of the interplay between individuals and devices, and the wider relationship to social/cultural norms? What are the attitudes of citizens and communities to privacy and risk in an IoT context? How should risks and benefits be communicated? How do users make informed decisions to judge the trustworthiness of information?

Answers to these (and the many other questions that will certainly emerge) will lead us to develop prototype solutions that will be evaluated with members of the Tillydrone community. Our ambition is to create a means by which a user can review the characteristics of an IoT device in terms of its impact on their personal data, answering questions such as: What type of data is it capturing? For what purpose? Who sees it? What are the (potential) benefits and risks? They also should be able to exert a degree of control over their data, and be guided to assess its reliability and accuracy.


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Description The information from Internet of Things can be very sensitive and it is important to protect the privacy of these data so that the users identity and behavior can be protected. In this project we have been studying the real data collected from a smart kettle and we find that the data collected is being stored outside the EU breaching the GDPR.
Exploitation Route We are currently carrying out focus group workshops to educate the users of smart devices.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software)