12 Days of Christmas - Day 8: Knowledge

Perspectives on Privacy Nudging

Data privacy and regulations regarding data are hot topics. With the impending privacy law changes, gaining a better understanding of privacy nudging can be useful as background to your analytics initiatives.

We are familiar with the data and analytics behind nudging. Made popular by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein in their book: ‘Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness’, Nudge Theory is based upon the idea that by shaping the environment, also known as the choice architecture, one can influence the likelihood that one option is chosen over another by individuals. A key factor of Nudge Theory is the ability for an individual to maintain freedom of choice and to feel in control of the decisions they make. 

Privacy nudging can support individuals in their decisions and align them with their behaviour and is explored in this four-part series from DataEthics, a politically independent ThinkDoTank based in Denmark with a European (and global) outreach.


Part 1 - Privacy Nudging Can Stop Irrational Decision-Making

Individual decisions are often irrational and even to the individuals’ own disadvantage, especially in digital environments. An example of irrational decision-making is the so-called privacy paradox, which means the discrepancy between the attitude and actual behavior of users regarding their privacy. The privacy paradox shows that individuals are concerned about the protection of their privacy. However, they do not always react accordingly, e.g., by disclosing personal information ...(continue reading)

Part 2 - Capturing the Complexity of Digital Privacy Nudging

Digital privacy nudges can be used to mitigate individual privacy risks and to foster informational self determination. This is critical as in decisions of personal data disclosure individuals often act against their intention. However, the design of digital nudges is complex, and many different aspects need to be considered. Otherwise, digital nudges can backfire and lead to unintended behavior. To provide systematic guidance for the creation of digital privacy nudges, we present specific steps to be considered that can serve as a scaffold...(continue reading)

Part 3 - Ethical Design Nudging Supports Autonomy and Transparency

Do we have an obligation to support users of digital systems in critical situations? In decisions where individuals tend to choose an alternative against their preferences, nudges can support individuals to align their behavior with their intention. To do so, digital privacy nudges should be designed in an ethical way. Supporting individuals’ autonomy and transparency can be a starting point...(continue reading)

Part 4 - Detangling the Architecture of Ethical Privacy Nudging

When discussing the ethical design of digital nudges, legitimacy can be important. Legitimacy means that dealings between different entities are fair. This is important, as offline and online environments offer no neutral way of presenting choices. When choice architecture cannot be neutral, it should not be manipulative. If nudges are not legitimately designed, one might argue that they undermine an individual’s autonomy which must be avoided....(continue reading)