Protecting Minority Ethnic Communities Online (PRIME)

Lead Research Organisation: Heriot-Watt University
Department Name: Sch of Energy, Geosci, Infrast & Society


The PRIME project will broaden understanding of online harm and how it can be mitigated through new systems, tools and processes by focusing on Minority Ethnic (ME) communities' experiences of digitalised services, particularly in the areas of housing, health and energy. We will draw on knowledge, methods and skills from social policy, cyber security and privacy, data mining and machine learning; human computer interaction, applied linguistics and educational technology. Working closely with REPHRAIN, we will engage with a wide range of individuals from ME communities, community organisations, public agencies and energy suppliers to identify and categorise the nature of the harms experienced, and assess the adequacy of existing systems and processes to counter them. We will translate this knowledge into the co-design and co-production of novel, effective and scalable social and technological harm-mitigating solutions through a Citizen-led Race Equity Living Lab (CREL). The outputs will include policy guidance in the fields of housing, health and energy as well as cross-cutting recommendations for improving online services more generally; educational resources for harm mitigation to enable individuals and organisations to more effectively protect themselves; as well as better privacy-enhancing technologies (PETs) that counter discriminatory processes in digitalised services. We will also produce benchmark datasets, tools and models to enable organisations to address ethnic inequalities in service provision and demonstrate more accountability to the public in terms of greater transparency and equitable service outcomes.


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